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Title: Giorgione
Author: Cook, Herbert, 1868-1939
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Art Repro Co.

Madonna & Child with two Saints.

From the painting by Giorgione at Castelfranco.]






     "Born half-way between the mountains and the sea--that young George
     of Castelfranco--of the Brave Castle: Stout George they called him,
     George of Georges, so goodly a boy he was--Giorgione."

     (RUSKIN: _Modern Painters_, vol. V. pt. IX. ch. IX.)

_First Published, November 1900 Second Edition, revised, with new
Appendix, February 1904._


Unlike most famous artists of the past, Giorgione has not yet found a
modern biographer. The whole trend of recent criticism has, in his case,
been to destroy not to fulfil. Yet signs are not wanting that the
disintegrating process is at an end, and that we have reached the point
where reconstruction may be attempted. The discovery of documents and
the recovery of lost pictures in the last few years have increased the
available material for a more comprehensive study of the artist, and the
time has come when the divergent results arrived at by independent
modern inquirers may be systematically arranged, and a reconciliation of
apparently conflicting views attempted on a psychological basis.

Crowe and Cavalcaselle were the first to examine the subject critically.
They separated--so far as was then possible (1871)--the real from the
traditional Giorgione, and their account of his life and works must
still rank as the nearest equivalent to a modern biography. Morelli, who
followed in 1877, was in singular sympathy with his task, and has
written of his favourite master enthusiastically, yet with consummate
judgment. Among living authorities, Dr. Gronau, Herr Wickhoff, Signor
Venturi, and Mr. Bernhard Berenson have contributed effectively to the
elucidation of obscure or disputed points, and the latter writer has
probably come nearer than anyone to recognise the scope of Giorgione's
art, and grasp the man behind his work. The monograph by Signor Conti
and the chapter in Pater's _Renaissance_ may be read for their delicate
appreciations of the "Giorgionesque"; other contributions on the subject
will be found in the Bibliography.

It is absolutely necessary for those whose judgment depends upon a study
of the actual pictures to be constantly registering and adjusting their
impressions. I have personally seen and studied all the pictures I
believe to be by Giorgione, with the exception of those at St.
Petersburg; and many galleries and churches where they hang have been
visited repeatedly, and at considerable intervals of time. If in the
course of years my individual impressions (where they deviate from
hitherto recognised views) fail to stand the test of time, I shall be
the first to admit their inadequacy. If, on the other hand, they prove
sound, some of the mists which at present envelop the figure of
Giorgione will have been dispersed.


_November 1900_


To this Edition an Appendix has been added, containing--(1) an article
by the Author on the age of Titian, which was published in the
_Nineteenth Century_ of January 1902; (2) the translation of a reply by
Dr. Georg Gronau, published in the _Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft_;
(3) a further reply by the Author, published in the same German

The writer wishes to acknowledge his indebtedness to the Editors of the
_Nineteenth Century_ and of the _Repertorium_ for permission to reprint
these articles.

A better photograph of the "Portrait of an Unknown Man" at Temple Newsam
has now been taken (p. 87), and sundry footnotes have been added to
bring the text up to date.

H. C.

ESHER, _January 1904_.














Madonna, with SS. Francis and Liberale. _Castelfranco_.

Adrastus and Hypsipyle. _Palazzo Giovanelli, Venice_

Aeneas, Evander, and Pallas. _Vienna Gallery_

The Judgment of Solomon. _Uffizi Gallery_

The Trial of Moses. _Uffizi Gallery_

Christ bearing the Cross. _Collection of Mrs. Gardner, Boston, U.S.A._

Knight of Malta. _Uffizi Gallery_

The Adoration of the Shepherds. _Vienna Gallery_

The Judgment of Solomon. _Collection of Mrs. Ralph Bankes, Kingston

Portrait of a Young Man. _Berlin Gallery_

Portrait of a Man. _Buda-Pesth Gallery_

Portrait of a Lady. _Borghese Gallery, Rome_

Apollo and Daphne. _Seminario, Venice_

Venus. _Dresden Gallery_

Judith. _Hermitage Gallery, St. Petersburg_

Pastoral Symphony. _Louvre, Paris_

The Three Ages. _Pitti Gallery_

Nymph and Satyr. _Pitti Gallery_

Madonna, with SS. Roch and Francis. _Prado, Madrid_

The Birth of Paris--Copy of a portion. _Buda-Pesth Gallery_

Shepherd Boy. _Hampton Court_

Portrait of a Man. (By Torbido) _Padua Gallery_

The Concert. _Pitti Gallery_

The Adoration of the Magi (or Epiphany). _National Gallery_

Christ bearing the Cross. _Collection of Duke of Devonshire, Chatsworth._
(Sketch by Vandyck, after the original by Giorgione in S. Rocco, Venice)

Mythological Scenes. Two _Cassone_ pieces _Padua Gallery_

Portrait of "Ariosto". _Collection of the Earl of Darnley, Cobham Hall_

Portrait of Caterina Cornaro. _Collection of Signor Crespi, Milan_

Bust of Caterina Cornaro. _Pourtalès Collection, Berlin_

Portrait of "A Poet". _National Gallery_

Portrait of a Man. _Querini-Stampalia Gallery, Venice_

Portrait of a Man. _Collection of the Hon. Mrs. Meynell-Ingram, Temple

Portrait of "Parma, the Physician". _Vienna Gallery_

Orpheus and Eurydice. _Bergamo Gallery_

The Golden Age (?). _National Gallery_

Venus and Adonis. _National Gallery_

Holy Family. _Collection of Mr. Robert Benson, London_

The "Gipsy" Madonna. _Vienna Gallery_

Madonna. _Collection of Mr. Robert Benson, London_

The Adulteress before Christ. _Glasgow Gallery_

Madonna and Saints. _Louvre, Paris_


ANONIMO. "Notizia d'opere di disegno." Ed. Frizzoni. Bologna, 1884.

_Archivio Storico dell' Arte_ (now _L'Arte_), 1888, p. 47. (See also
_sub_ Venturi.)

_Art Journal_. 1895. p. 90. (Dr. Richter.)

BERENSON, B. "Venetian Painting at the New Gallery." 1895. (Privately
printed.) "Venetian Painters of the Renaissance." Third edition, 1897.
Putnam, London. _Gazette des Beaux Arts_, 1897, p. 279.

BURCKHARDT. "Cicerone." Sixth edition, 1893. (Dr. Bode.)

CONTI, A. "Giorgione, Studio." Florence, 1894.

CROWE AND CAVALCASELLE. "History of Painting in North Italy," vol. ii.
London, 1871. "Life of Titian." Two vols.

FRY, ROGER. "Giovanni Bellini." London, 1899.

GRONAU, DR. G. _Gazette des Beaux Arts_, 1894, p. 332. _Repertorium für
Kunstwissenschaft_, xviii. 4, p. 284. "Zorzon da Castelfranco. La sua
origine, la sua morte, e tomba." Venice, 1894. "Tizian." Berlin, 1900.

LAFENESTRE, G. "La vie et l'oeuvre de Titien." Paris, 1886.

LOGAN, MARY. "Guide to the Italian Pictures at Hampton Court." London,

_Magazine of Art_, 1890, pp. 91 and 138. (Sir W. Armstrong.) 1893.
April. (Mr. W.F. Dickes.)

MORELLI, GIOVANNI. "Italian Painters." Translated by C.J. Ffoulkes.
London, 1892. Vols. i. and ii. _passim_.

MÜNTZ, E. "La fin de la Renaissance." Paris.

New Gallery Catalogue of Exhibition of Venetian Art, 1895.

PATER, W. "The Renaissance." Chapter on the School of Giorgione. London,

PHILLIPS, CLAUDE. _Gazette des Beaux Arts_, 1884, p. 286. _Magazine of
Art_, July 1895. "The Picture Gallery of Charles I." (_Portfolio_,
January 1896). "The Earlier Work of Titian" (_Portfolio_, October 1897).
_North American Review_, October 1899.

_Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft_. Bd. xiv. p. 316. (Herr von
Seidlitz.) Bd. xix. Hft. 6. (Dr. Harck.)

RIDOLFI, C. "Le Maraviglie dell' arte della pittura." Venice, 1648.

Royal Academy. Catalogues of the Exhibitions of Old Masters.

VASARI. "Le Vite." Ed. Sansoni. Florence, 1879. Translation edited by
Blashfield and Hopkins, with Notes. London, 1897.

VENTURI, ADOLFO. _Archivio Storico dell' Arte_, vi. 409, 412. _L'Arte_,
1900, p. 24, etc. "La Galleria Crespi in Milano," 1900.

WICKHOFF, F. _Gazette des Beaux Arts_, 1893, p. 135. _Jahrbuch der
Preussischen Kunstsammlungen_, 1895. Heft i.

ZANETTI, A. "Varie Pitture," etc., with engravings of some fragments
from the Fondaco de' Tedeschi frescoes, 1760.




Apart from tradition, very few ascertained facts are known to us as to
Giorgione's life. The date of his birth is conjectural, there being but
Vasari's unsupported testimony that he died in his thirty-fourth year.
Now we know from unimpeachable sources that his death happened in
October-November 1510,[1] so that, assuming Vasari's statement to be
correct, Giorgione will have been born in 1477.[2]

The question of his birthplace and origin has been in great dispute.
Without going into the evidence at length, we may accept with some
degree of certainty the results at which recent German research has
arrived.[3] Dr. Gronau's conclusion is that Giorgione was the son (or
grandson) of a certain Giovanni, called Giorgione of Castelfranco, who
came originally from the village of Vedelago in the march of Treviso.
This Giovanni was living at Castelfranco, of which he was a citizen, in
1460, and there, probably, Giorgione his son (or grandson) was born some
seventeen years later.

The tradition that the artist was a natural son of one of the great
Barbarella family, and that in consequence he was called Barbarelli, is
now shown to be false. This cognomen is first found in 1648, in
Ridolfi's book, to which, in 1697, the picturesque addition was made
that his mother was a peasant girl of Vedelago.[4] None of the earlier
writers or contemporary documents ever allude to such an origin, or
speak of "Barbarelli," but always of "Zorzon de Castelfrancho," "Zorzi
da Castelfranco," and the like,[5]

We may take it as certain that Giorgione spent the whole of his short
life in Venice and the neighbourhood. Unlike Titian, whose busy career
was marked by constant journeyings and ever fresh incidents, the young
Castelfrancan passed a singularly calm and uneventful life. Untroubled,
apparently, by the storm and stress of the political world about him, he
devoted himself with a whole-hearted simplicity to the advancement of
his art. Like Leonardo, he early won fame for his skill in music, and
Vasari tells us the gifted young lute-player was a welcome guest in
distinguished circles. Although of humble origin, he must have possessed
a singular charm of manner, and a comeliness of person calculated to
find favour, particularly with the fair sex. He early found a
quasi-royal friend and patroness in Caterina Cornaro, ex-Queen of
Cyprus, whose portrait he painted, and whose recommendation, as I
believe, secured for him important commissions in the like field. But we
may leave Giorgione's art for fuller discussion in the following
chapters, and only note here two outside events which were not without
importance in the young artist's career.

The one was the visit paid by Leonardo to Venice in the year 1500.
Vasari tells us "Giorgione had seen certain works from the hand of
Leonardo, which were painted with extraordinary softness, and thrown
into powerful relief, as is said, by extreme darkness of the shadows, a
manner which pleased him so much that he ever after continued to imitate
it, and in oil painting approached very closely to the excellence of his
model."[6] This statement has been combated by Morelli, but although
historical evidence is wanting that the two men ever actually met, there
is nothing improbable in Vasari's account. Leonardo certainly came to
Venice for a short time in 1500, and it would be perfectly natural to
find the young Venetian, then in his twenty-fourth year, visiting the
great Florentine, long a master of repute, and from him, or from
"certain works of his," taking hints for his own practice.[7]

The second event of moment to which allusion may here be made was the
great conflagration in the year 1504, when the Exchange of the German
Merchants was burnt. This building, known as the Fondaco de' Tedeschi,
occupying one of the finest sites on the Grand Canal, was rebuilt by
order of the Signoria, and Giorgione received the commission to decorate
the façade with frescoes. The work was completed by 1508, and became the
most celebrated of all the artist's creations. The Fondaco still stands
to-day, but, alas! a crimson stain high up on the wall is all that
remains to us of these great frescoes, which were already in decay when
Vasari visited Venice in 1541.

Other work of the kind--all long since perished--Giorgione undertook
with success. The Soranzo Palace, the Palace of Andrea Loredano, the
Casa Flangini, and elsewhere, were frescoed with various devices, or
ornamented with monochrome friezes.

We know nothing of Giorgione's home life; he does not appear to have
married, or to have left descendants. Vasari speaks of "his many friends
whom he delighted by his admirable performance in music," and his death
caused "extreme grief to his many friends to whom he was endeared by his
excellent qualities." He enjoyed prosperity and good health, and was
called Giorgione "as well from the character of his person as for the
exaltation of his mind."[8]

He died of plague in the early winter of 1510, and was probably buried
with other victims on the island of Poveglia, off Venice, where the
lazar-house was situated.[9] The tradition that his bones were removed
in 1638 and buried at Castelfranco in the family vault of the Barbarelli
is devoid of foundation, and was invented to round off the story of his
supposed connection with the family.[10]


[1] See Appendix, where the documents are quoted in full.

[2] Vasari gives 1478 (1477 in his first edition) and 1511 as the years
of his birth and death. Crowe and Cavalcaselle, and Dr. Bode prefer to
say "before 1477," a supposition which would make his precocity less
phenomenal, and help to explain some chronological difficulties (see p.

[3] _Zorzon da Castelfranco. La sua origine, la sua morte e tomba_, by
Dr. Georg Gronau. Venice, 1894.

[4] Vide _Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft_, xix. 2, p. 166. [Dr.

[5] It would seem, therefore, desirable to efface the name of Barbarelli
from the catalogues. The National Gallery, for example, registers
Giorgione's work under this name.

[6] The translation given is that of Blashfield and Hopkins's edition.
Bell, 1897.

[7] M. Müntz adduces strong arguments in favour of this view (_La fin de
la Renaissance_, p. 600).

[8] The name "Giorgione" signifies "Big George." But it seems to have
been also his father's name.

[9] This visitation claimed no less than 20,000 victims.

[10] See Gronau, _op. cit_. Tradition has been exceptionally busy over
Giorgione's affairs. The story goes that he died of grief at being
betrayed by his friend and pupil, Morto da Feltre, who had robbed him of
his mistress. This is now proved false by the document quoted in the



Such, then, very briefly, are the facts of Giorgione's life recorded by
the older biographers, or known by contemporary documents. Now let us
turn to his artistic remains, the _disjecta membra_, out of which we may
reconstruct something of the man himself; for, to those who can
interpret it aright, a man's work is his best autobiography.

This is especially true in the case of an artist of Giorgione's
temperament, for his expression is so peculiarly personal, so highly
charged with individuality, that every product of mental activity
becomes a revelation of the man himself. People like Giorgione must
express themselves in certain ways, and these ways are therefore
characteristic. Some people regard a work of art as something external;
a great artist, they say, can vary his productions at will, he can paint
in any style he chooses. But the exact contrary is the truth. The
greater the artist, the less he can divest himself of his own
personality; his work may vary in degree of excellence, but not in kind.
The real reason, therefore, why it is impossible for certain pictures to
be by Giorgione is, not that they are not _good_ enough for him, but
that they are not _characteristic_. I insist on this point, because in
the matter of genuineness the touchstone of authenticity is so often to
be looked for in an answer to the question: Is this or that
characteristic? The personal equation is the all-important factor to be
recognised; it is the connecting link which often unites apparently
diverse phenomena, and explains what would otherwise appear to be

There is an intimate relation then between the artist and his work, and,
rightly interpreted, the latter can tell us much about the former.

Let us turn to Giorgione's work. Here we are brought face to face with
an initial difficulty, the great difficulty, in fact, which has stood so
much in the way of a more comprehensive understanding of the master, I
mean, that scarcely anything of his work is authenticated. Three
pictures alone have never been called in question by contending critics;
outside this inner ring is more or less debatable ground, and on this
wider arena the battle has raged until scarcely a shred of the painter's
work has emerged unscathed. The result has been to reduce the figure of
Giorgione to a shadowy myth, whose very existence, at the present rate
at which negative criticism progresses, will assuredly be called in

If Bacon wrote Shakespeare, then Giorgione can be divided up between a
dozen Venetian artists, who "painted Giorgione." Fortunately three
pictures survive which refuse to be fitted in anywhere else except under
"Giorgione." This is the irreducible minimum, [Greek: _o anankaiotatos_]
Giorgione, with which we must start.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of the three universally accepted pictures, first and foremost comes the
Castelfranco altar-piece, according to Mr. Ruskin "one of the two most
perfect pictures in existence; alone in the world as an imaginative
representation of Christianity, with a monk and a soldier on either side
... "[11] This great picture was painted before 1504, when the artist
was only twenty-seven years of age,[12] a fact which clearly proves that
his genius must have developed early. For not even a Giorgione can
produce such a masterpiece without a long antecedent course of training
and accomplishment. This is not the place to inquire into the nature and
character of the works which lead up to this altar-piece, for a
chronological survey ought to follow, not precede, an examination of all
available material; it is important, nevertheless, to bear in mind that
quite ten years had been passed in active work ere Giorgione produced
this masterpiece.

If no other evidence were forthcoming as to the sort of man the painter
was, this one production of his would for ever stamp him as a person of
exquisite feeling. There is a reserve, almost a reticence, in the way
the subject is presented, which indicates a refined mind. An atmosphere
of serenity pervades the scene, which conveys a sense of personal
tranquillity and calm. The figures are absorbed in their own thoughts;
they stand isolated apart, as though the painter wishes to intensify the
mood of dreamy abstraction. Nothing disquieting disturbs the scene,
which is one of profound reverie. All this points to Giorgione being a
man of moods, as we say; a lyric poet, whose expression is highly
charged with personal feeling, who appeals to the imagination rather
than to the intellect. And so, as we might expect, landscape plays an
important part in the composition; it heightens the pictorial effect,
not merely by providing a picturesque background, but by enhancing the
mood of serenity and solemn calm. Giorgione uses it as an instrument of
expression, blending nature and human nature into happy unison. The
effect of the early morning sun rising over the distant sea is of
indescribable charm, and invests the scene with a poetic glamour which,
as Morelli truly remarks, awakens devotional feelings. What must have
been the effect when it was first painted! for even five modern
restorations, under which the original work has been buried, have not
succeeded in destroying the hallowing charm. To enjoy similar effects we
must turn to the central Italian painters, to Perugino and Raphael;
certainly in Venetian art of pre-Giorgionesque times the like cannot be
found, and herein Giorgione is an innovator. Bellini, indeed, before him
had studied nature and introduced landscape backgrounds into his
pictures, but more for picturesqueness of setting than as an integral
part of the whole; they are far less suggestive of the mood appropriate
to the moment, less calculated to stir the imagination than to please
the eye. Nowhere, in short, in Venetian art up to this date is a lyrical
treatment of the conventional altar-piece so fully realised as in the
Castelfranco Madonna.

Technically, Giorgione proclaims himself no less an innovator. The
composition is on the lines of a perfect equilateral triangle, a scheme
which Bellini and the older Venetian artists never adopted.[13] So
simple a scheme required naturally large and spacious treatment; flat
surfaces would be in place, and the draperies cast in ample folds.
Dignity of bearing, and majestic sweep of dress are appropriately
introduced; the colour is rich and harmonious, the preponderance of
various shades of green having a soothing effect on the eye. The golden
glow which doubtless once suffused the whole, has, alas! disappeared
under cruel restorations, and flatness of tone has inevitably resulted,
but we may still admire the play of light on horizontal surfaces, and
the chiaroscuro giving solidity and relief to the figures.

An interesting link with Bellini is seen in the S. Francis, for the
figure is borrowed from that master's altar-piece of S. Giobbe (now in
the Venice Academy). Bellini's S. Francis had been painted seventeen or
eighteen years before, and now we find Giorgione having recourse to the
older master for a pictorial motive. But, as though to assert his
independence, he has created in the S. Liberale a type of youthful
beauty and manliness which in turn became the prototype of subsequent
knightly figures. Palma Vecchio, Mareschalco, and Pennacchi all borrowed
it for their own use, a proof that Giorgione's altar-piece acquired an
early celebrity.[14]

[Illustration: _Anderson photo. Giovanelli Palace, Venice_


Exquisite feeling is equally conspicuous in the other two works
universally ascribed to Giorgione. These are the "Adrastus and
Hypsipyle," in the collection of Prince Giovanelli, in Venice, and
the "Aeneas, Evander, and Pallas," in the gallery at Vienna.[15]

"The Giovanelli Figures," or "The Stormy Landscape, with the Soldier and
the Gipsy," as the picture has been commonly called since the days of
the Anonimo, who so described it in 1530, is totally unlike anything
that Venetian art of the pre-Giorgionesque era has to show. The painted
myth is a new departure, the creation of Giorgione's own brain, and as
such, is treated in a wholly unconventional manner. His peculiarly
poetical nature here finds full scope for display, his delicacy, his
refinement, his sensitiveness to the beauties of the outside world, find
fitting channels through which to express themselves. With what a spirit
of romance Giorgione has invested his picture! So exquisitely personal
is the mood, that the subject itself has taken his biographers nearly
four centuries to decipher! For the artist, it must be noted, does not
attempt to illustrate a passage of an ancient writer; very probably,
nay, almost certainly, he had never read the _Thebaid_ of Statius,
whence comes the story of Adrastus and Hypsipyle; the subject would have
been suggested to him by some friend, a student of the Classics, and
Giorgione thereupon dressed the old Greek myth in Venetian garb, just as
Statius had done in the Latin.[16] The story is known to us only at
second hand, and we are at liberty to choose Giorgione's version in
preference to that of the Roman poet; each is an independent translation
of a common original, and certainly Giorgione's is not the less
poetical. He has created a painted lyric which is not an illustration
of, but a parallel presentation to the written poem of Statius.

Technically, the workmanship points to an earlier period than the
Castelfranco Madonna, and there is an exuberance of fancy which points
to a youthful origin. The figures are of slight and graceful build, the
composition easy and unstudied, with a tendency to adopt a triangular
arrangement in the grouping, the apex being formed by the storm scene,
to which the eye thus naturally reverts. The figures and the landscape
are brought into close relation by this subtle scheme, and the picture
becomes, not figures with landscape background, but landscape with

The reproduction unduly exaggerates the contrasts of light and shade,
and conveys little of the mellowness and richness of atmospheric effect
which characterise the original. Unlike the brilliance of colouring in
the Castelfranco picture, dark reds, browns, and greens here give a
sombre tone which is accentuated by the dullness of surface due to old

[Illustration: _Hanfstängl photo. Vienna Gallery_


"The Three Philosophers," or "The Chaldean Sages," as the picture at
Vienna has long been strangely named, shows the artist again treating a
classical story in his own fantastic way. Virgil has enshrined in verse
the legend of the arrival of the Trojan Aeneas in Italy,[17] and
Giorgione depicts the moment when Evander, the aged seer-king, and his
son Pallas point out to the wanderer the site of the future Capitol.
Again we find the same poetical presentation, not representation, of a
legendary subject, again the same feeling for the beauties of nature.
How Giorgione has revelled in the glories of the setting sun, the long
shadows of the evening twilight, the tall-stemmed trees, the moss-grown
rock! The figures are but a pretext, we feel, for an idyllic scene,
where the story is subordinated to the expression of sensuous charm.

This work was seen by the Anonimo in 1525, in the house of Taddeo
Contarini at Venice. It was then believed to have been completed by
Sebastiano del Piombo, Giorgione's pupil. If so,--and there is no valid
reason to doubt the statement,--Giorgione left unfinished a picture on
which he was at work some years before his death, for the style clearly
indicates that the artist had not yet reached the maturity of his later
period. The figures still recall those of Bellini, the modelling is
close and careful, the forms compact, and reminiscent of the
quattrocento. It is noticeable that the type of the Pallas is identical
with that of S. John Baptist in Sebastiano's early altar-piece in S.
Giovanni Crisostomo at Venice, but it would be unwise to dramatise on
the share (if any) which the pupil had in completing the work of his
master. The credit of invention must indubitably rest with Giorgione,
but the damage which the picture has sustained through neglect and
repainting in years gone by, renders certainty of discrimination between
the two hands a matter of impossibility.

The colouring is rich and varied; the orange horizon, the distant blue
hill, and the pale, clear evening light, with violet-tinted clouds, give
a wonderful depth behind the dark tree-trunks. The effect of the
delicate leaves and feathery trees at the edge of the rock, relieved
against the pale sky, is superb. A spirit of solemnity broods over the
scene, fit feeling at so eventful a moment in the history of the past.

The composition, which looks so unstudied, is really arranged on the
usual triangular basis. The group of figures on the right is balanced on
the left by the great rock--the future Capitol--(which is thus brought
prominently into notice), and the landscape background again forms the
apex. The added depth and feeling for space shows how Giorgione had
learnt to compose in three dimensions, the technical advance over the
"Adrastus and Hypsipyle" indicating a period subsequent to that picture,
though probably anterior to the Castelfranco altar-piece.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have now taken the three universally accepted Giorgiones; how are we
to proceed in our investigations? The simplest course will be to take
the pictures acknowledged by those modern writers who have devoted most
study to the question, and examine them in the light of the results to
which we have attained. Those writers are Crowe and Cavalcaselle, who
published their account of Giorgione in 1871, and Morelli, who wrote in
1877. Now it is notorious that the results at which these critics
arrived are often widely divergent, but a great deal too much has been
made of the differences and not enough of the points of agreement.
As a matter of fact, Morelli only questions three of the thirteen
Giorgiones accepted definitely by Crowe and Cavalcaselle. Leaving these
three aside for the moment, we may take the remaining ten (three of
which we have already examined), and after deducting three others in
English collections to which Morelli does not specifically refer, we are
left with four more pictures on which these rival authorities are

[Illustration: _Alinari photo. Uffizi Gallery, Florence_


These are the two small works in the Uffizi, representing the "Judgment
of Solomon" and the "Trial of Moses," the "Knight of Malta," also in the
Uffizi, and the "Christ bearing the Cross," till lately in the Casa
Loschi at Vicenza, and now belonging to Mrs. Gardner of Boston, U.S.A.

The two small companion pictures in the Uffizi, The "Judgment of
Solomon" and the "Trial of Moses," or "Ordeal by Fire," as it is also
called, connect in style closely with the "Adrastus and Hypsipyle." They
are conceived in the same romantic strain, and carried out with scarcely
less brilliance and charm. The story, as in the previous pictures, is
not insisted upon; the biblical episode and the rabbinical legend are
treated in the same fantastic way as the classic myth. Giovanni Bellini
had first introduced this lyric conception in his treatment of the
mediaeval allegory, as we see it in his picture, also in the Uffizi,
hanging near the Giorgiones; all three works were originally together in
the Medici residence of Poggio Imperiale, and there can be little doubt
are intimately related in origin to one another. Bellini's latest
biographer, Mr. Roger Fry, places this Allegory about the years 1486-8,
a date which points to a very early origin for the other two.[18] For
it is extremely likely that the young Giorgione was inspired by his
master's example, and that he may have produced his companion pieces as
early as 1493. With this deduction Morelli is in accord: "In character
they belong to the fifteenth century, and may have been painted by
Giorgione in his sixteenth or eighteenth year."[19]

Here, then, is a clue to the young artist's earliest predilections. He
fastens eagerly upon that phase of Bellini's art to which his own poetic
temperament most readily responds. But he goes a step further than his
master. He takes his subjects not from mediaeval romances, but from the
Bible or rabbinical writings, and actually interprets them also in this
new and unorthodox way. So bold a departure from traditional usage
proves the independence and originality of the young painter. These two
little pictures thus become historically the first-fruits of the
neo-pagan spirit which was gradually supplanting the older
ecclesiastical thought, and Giorgione, once having cast conventionalism
aside, readily turns to classical mythology to find subjects for the
free play of fancy. The "Adrastus and Hypsipyle" thus follows naturally
upon "The Judgment of Solomon" and "Trial of Moses," and the pages of
Virgil, Ovid, Statius, and Valerius Flaccus--all treasure-houses of
golden legend--yield subjects suggestive of romance. The titles of some
of these _poesie_, as they were called, are preserved in the pages of

[Illustration: _Alinari photo. Uffizi Gallery, Florence_


The tall and slender figures, the attitudes, and the general
_mise-en-scène_ vividly recall the earlier style of Carpaccio, who was
at this very time composing his delightful fairy tales of the "Legend of
S. Ursula."[21] Common to both painters is a gaiety and love of beauty
and colour. There is also in both a freedom and ease, even a homeliness
of conception, which distinguishes their work from the pageant pictures
of Gentile Bellini, whose "Corpus Christi Procession" was produced two
or three years later, in 1496.[21] But Giorgione's art is instinct with
a lyrical fancy all his own, the story is subordinated to the mood of
the moment, and he is much more concerned with the beauty of the scene
than with its dramatic import.

The repainted condition of "The Judgment of Solomon" has led some good
judges to pronounce it a copy. It certainly lacks the delicacy that
distinguishes its companion piece, but may we not--with Crowe and
Cavalcaselle and Morelli--register it rather as a much defaced original?

So far as we have at present examined Giorgione's pictures, the trend of
thought they display has been mostly in the direction of secular
subjects. The two early examples just described show that even where the
subject is quasi-religious, the revolutionary spirit made itself felt;
but it would be perfectly natural to find the young artist also
following his master Giambellini in the painting of strictly sacred
subjects. No better example could be found than the "Christ bearing the
Cross," the small work which has recently left Italy for America. We are
told by the Anonimo that there was in his day (1525) a picture by
Bellini of this subject, and it is remarkable that four separate
versions exist to-day which, without being copies of one another, are so
closely related that the existence of a common original is a legitimate
inference. That this was by Bellini is more than probable, for the
different versions are clearly by different painters of his school. By
far the finest is the example which Crowe and Cavalcaselle and Morelli
unhesitatingly ascribe to the young Giorgione; this version is, however,
considered by Signor Venturi inferior to the one now belonging to Count
Lanskeronski in Vienna.[22] Others who, like the writer, have seen both
works, agree with the older view, and regard the latter version, like
the others at Berlin and Rovigo, as a contemporary repetition of
Bellini's lost original.[23]

[Illustration: _Anderson photo. Collection of Mrs. Gardner, Boston,


Characteristic of Giorgione is the abstract thought, the dreaminess of
look, the almost furtive glance. The minuteness of finish reminds us of
Antonello, and the turn of the head suggests several of the latter's
portraits. The delicacy with which the features are modelled, the
high forehead, and the lighting of the face are points to be noted, as
we shall find the same characteristics elsewhere.

[Illustration: _Alinari photo_] _[Uffizi Gallery, Florence_


The "Knight of Malta," in the Uffizi, is a more mature work, and reveals
Giorgione to us as a portrait painter of remarkable power. The
conception is dignified, the expression resolute, yet tempered by that
look of abstract thought which the painter reads into the faces of his
sitters. The hair parted in the middle, and brought down low at the
sides of the forehead, was peculiarly affected by the Venetian gentlemen
of the day, and this style seems to have particularly pleased Giorgione,
who introduces it in many other pictures besides portraits. The oval of
the face, which is strongly lighted, is also characteristic. This work
shows no direct connection with Bellini's portraiture, but far more with
that which we are accustomed to associate with the names of Titian and
Palma. It dates probably from the early part of the sixteenth century,
at a time when Giorgione was breaking with the older tradition which had
strictly limited portraiture to the representation of the head only, or
at most to the bust. The hand is here introduced, though Giorgione feels
still compelled to account for its presence by introducing a rosary of
large beads. In later years, as we shall see, the expressiveness of the
human hand _per se_ will be recognised; but Giorgione already feels its
significance in portraiture, and there is not one of his portraits which
does not show this.[24]

The list of Giorgione's works now numbers seven; the next three to be
discussed are those that Crowe and Cavalcaselle added on their own
account, but about which Morelli expressed no opinion. Two are in
English private collections, the third in the National Gallery. This is
the small "Knight in Armour," said to be a study for the figure of S.
Liberale in the Castelfranco altar-piece. The main difference is that in
the latter the warrior wears his helmet, whilst in the National Gallery
example he is bareheaded. By some this little figure is believed to be a
copy, or repetition with variations, of Giorgione's original, but it
must honestly be confessed that absolutely no proof is forthcoming in
support of this view. The quality of this fragment is unquestionable,
and its very divergence from the Castelfranco figure is in its favour.
It would perhaps be unsafe to dogmatise in a case where the material is
so slight, but until its genuineness can be disproved by indisputable
evidence, the claim to authenticity put forward in the National Gallery
catalogue, following Crowe and Cavalcaselle's view, must be allowed.

[Illustration: _Hanfstängl photo. Vienna Gallery_


The two remaining pictures definitely placed by Crowe and Cavalcaselle
among the authentic productions of Giorgione are the "Adoration of the
Shepherds," belonging to Mr. Wentworth Beaumont, and the "Judgment of
Solomon," in the possession of Mr. Ralph Bankes at Kingston Lacy,
Dorsetshire. The former (of which an inferior replica with differences
of landscape exists in the Vienna Gallery) is one of the most poetically
conceived representations of this familiar subject which exists. The
actual group of figures forms but an episode in a landscape of the most
entrancing beauty, lighted by the rising sun, and wrapped in a soft
atmospheric haze. The landscapes in the two little Uffizi pictures are
immediately suggested, yet the quality of painting is here far superior,
and is much closer in its rendering of atmospheric effects to the
"Adrastus and Hypsipyle." The figures, on the other hand, are weak, very
unequal in size, and feebly expressed, except the Madonna, who has
charm. The lights and shadows are treated in a masterly way, and
contrasts of gloom and sunlight enhance the solemnity of the scene. The
general tone is rich and full of subdued colour.

Now if the name of Giorgione be denied this "Nativity," to which of the
followers of Bellini are we to assign it?--for the work is clearly of
Bellinesque stamp. The name of Catena has been proposed, but is now no
longer seriously supported.[25] If for no other reason, the colour
scheme is sufficient to exclude this able artist, and, versatile as he
undoubtedly was, it may be questioned whether he ever could have
attained to the mellowness and glow which suffuse this picture. The
latest view enunciated[26] is that "we are in the presence of a painter
as yet anonymous, whom in German fashion we might provisionally name
'The Master of the Beaumont "Adoration."'" Now this system of labelling
certain groups of paintings showing common characteristics is all very
well in cases where the art history of a particular school or period is
wrapt in obscurity, and where few, if any, names have come down to us,
but in the present instance it is singularly inappropriate. To begin
with, this anonymous painter is the author, so it is believed, of only
three works, this "Adoration," the "Epiphany," in the National Gallery,
No. 1160, and a small "Holy Family," belonging to Mr. Robert Benson in
London, for all three works are universally admitted to be by the same
hand. Next, this anonymous painter must have been a singularly refined
and poetical artist, a master of brilliant colour, and an accomplished
chiaroscurist. Truly a _deus ex machina_! Next you have to find a
vacancy for such a phenomenon in the already crowded lists of Bellini's
pupils and followers, as if there were not more names than enough
already to fully account for every Bellinesque production.[27] No, this
is no question of compromise, of the dragging to light some hitherto
unknown genius whose identity has long been merged in that of bigger
men, but it is the recognition of the fact that the greater comprises
the less. Admitting, as we may, that these three pictures are inferior
in "depth, significance, cohesion, and poetry" (!) to the Castelfranco
"Madonna," there is nothing to show that they are not characteristic of
Giorgione, that they do not form part of a consistent whole. As a matter
of fact, this "Adoration of the Shepherds" connects very well with the
early _poésie_ already discussed. There is some opposition between the
sacred theme and Giorgione's natural dislike to tell a mere story; but
he has had to conform to traditional methods of representation, and the
feeling of restraint is felt in the awkward drawing of the figures, and
their uneven execution. That he felt dissatisfied with this portion of
the work, the drawing at Windsor plainly shows, for the figures appear
here in a different position, as if he had tried to recast his scheme.

Some may object that the drawing of the shepherd is atrocious, and that
the figures are of disproportionate sizes. Such failings, they say,
cannot be laid to a great master's charge. This is an appeal to the old
argument that it is not _good_ enough, whereas the true test lies in the
question, Is it _characteristic_? Of Giorgione it certainly is a
characteristic to treat each figure in a composition more or less by
itself; he isolates them, and this conception is often emphasised by an
outward disparity of size. The relative disproportion of the figures in
the Castelfranco altar-piece, and of those of Aeneas and Evander in the
Vienna picture can hardly be denied, yet no one has ever pleaded this as
a bar to their authenticity. Instances of this want of cohesion, both in
conception and execution, between the various figures in a scene could
be multiplied in Giorgione's work, no more striking instance being found
than in the great undertaking he left unfinished--the large "Judgment of
Solomon," next to be discussed. Moreover, eccentricities of drawing are
not uncommon in his work, as a reference to the "Adrastus and
Hypsipyle," and later works, like the "Fête Champêtre" (of the Louvre),
will show.

I have no hesitation, therefore, in recognising this "Adoration of the
Shepherds" as a genuine work of Giorgione, and, moreover, it appears to
be the masterpiece of that early period when Bellini's influence was
still strong upon him.

The Vienna replica, I believe, was also executed by Giorgione himself.
Until recent times, when an all too rigorous criticism condemned it to
be merely a piece of the "Venezianische Schule um 1500" (which is
correct as far as it goes),[28] it bore Giorgione's name, and is so
recorded in an inventory of the year 1659. It differs from the Beaumont
version chiefly in its colouring, which is silvery and of delicate
tones. It lacks the rich glow, and has little of that mysterious glamour
which is so subtly attractive in the former. The landscape is also
different. We must be on our guard, therefore, against the view that it
is merely a copy; differences of detail, especially in the landscape,
show that it is a parallel work, or a replica. Now I believe that these
two versions of the "Nativity" are the two pictures of "La Notte," by
Giorgione, to which we have allusion in a contemporary document.[29] The
description, "Una Notte," obviously means what we term "A Nativity"
(Correggio's "Heilige Nacht" at Dresden is a familiar instance of the
same usage), and the difference in quality between the two versions is
significantly mentioned. It seems that Isabella d'Este, the celebrated
Marchioness of Mantua, had commissioned one of her agents in Venice to
procure for her gallery a picture by Giorgione. The agent writes to his
royal mistress and tells her (October 1510) that the artist is just
dead, and that no such picture as she describes--viz. "Una Nocte"[A]--is
to be found among his effects. However, he goes on, Giorgione did paint
two such pictures, but these were not for sale, as they belonged to two
private owners who would not part with them. One of these pictures was
of better design and more highly finished than the other, the latter
being, in his opinion, not perfect enough for the royal collection. He
regrets accordingly that he is unable to obtain the picture which the
Marchioness requires.

If my conjecture be right, we have in the Beaumont and Vienna
"Nativities" the only two pictures of Giorgione to which allusion is
made in an absolutely contemporary document, and they thus become
authenticated material with which to start a study of the master.

The next picture, which Crowe and Cavalcaselle accept without question,
is the large "Judgment of Solomon," belonging to Mr. Bankes at Kingston
Lacy. The scene is a remarkable one, conceived in an absolutely unique
way; Solomon is here posed as a Roman Praetor giving judgment in the
Atrium, supported on each side by onlookers attired in fanciful costume
of the Venetian period, or suggestive of classical models. It is the
strangest possible medley of the Bellinesque and the antique, knit
together by harmonious colouring and a clever grouping of figures in a
triangular design. As an interpretation of a dramatic scene it is
singularly ineffective, partly because it is unfinished, some of the
elements of the tragedy being entirely wanting, partly because of an
obvious stageyness in the action of the figures taking part in the
scene. There is a want of dramatic unity in the whole; the figures are
introduced in an accidental way, and their relative proportion is not
accurately preserved; the executioner, for example, is head and
shoulders larger than anyone else, whilst the two figures standing on
the steps of Solomon's throne are in marked contrast. The one with the
shield, on the left, is as monumental as one of Bramante's creations,
the old gentleman with the beard, on the right, is mincing and has no
shoulders. Solomon himself appears as a young man of dark complexion, in
an attitude of self-contained determination; the way his hands rest on
the sides of the throne is very expressive. His drapery is cast in
curious folds of a zig-zag character, following the lines of the
composition, whilst the dresses of the other personages fall in broad
masses to the ground. The light and shade are cleverly handled, and the
spaciousness of the scene is enhanced by the rows of columns and the
apse of mosaics behind Solomon's head. The painter was clearly versed in
the laws of perspective, and indicates depth inwards by placing the
figures behind one another on a tesselated pavement or on the receding
steps of the throne, giving at the same time a sense of atmospheric
space between one figure and another. The colour scheme is delightful,
full-toned orange and red alternating with pale blues, olive green, and
delicate pink, the contrasts so subdued by a clever balance of light and
shade as to harmonise the whole in a delicate silvery key.

[Illustration: _Dixon photo. Collection of Mr. Ralph Bankes,
Kingston-Lacey, England_


The unfinished figure of the executioner evidently caused the artist
much trouble, for _pentimenti_ are frequent, and other outlines can be
distinctly traced through the nude body. The effect of this clumsy
figure is far from satisfactory; the limbs are not articulated
distinctly; moreover, the balance of the whole composition is seriously
threatened by the tragedy being enacted at the side instead of in the
middle. The artist appears to have felt this difficulty so much that he
stopped short at this point; at any rate, the living child remains
unrepresented, nor is there any second child such as is required to
illustrate the story. It looks as though the scheme was not carefully
worked out before commencing, and that the artist found himself in
difficulties at the last, when he had to introduce the dramatic motive,
which apparently was not to his taste.

Now, all this fits in exactly with what we know of Giorgione's
temperament; lyrical by nature, he would shrink from handling a great
dramatic scene, and if such a task were imposed upon him he would
naturally treat three-fourths of the subject in his own fantastic way,
and do his best to illustrate the action required in the remaining part.
The result would be (what might be expected) forced or stagey, and the
action rhetorical, and that is exactly what has happened in this
"Judgment of Solomon."

It is a natural inference that, supposing Giorgione to be the painter,
he would never have selected such a subject of his own free will to be
treated, as this is, on so large a scale. There may be, therefore,
something in the suggestion which Crowe and Cavalcaselle make that this
may be the large canvas ordered of Giorgione for the audience chamber
of the Council, "for which purpose," they add, "the advances made to him
in the summer of 1507 and in January 1508 show that the work he had
undertaken was of the highest consequence."[30]

Be this as it may, the picture was in Venice, in the Casa Grimani di
Santo Ermagora,[31] in Ridolfi's day (1646), and that writer specially
mentions the unfinished executioner. It passed later into the
Marescalchi Gallery at Bologna, where it was seen by Lord Byron (1820),
and purchased at his suggestion by his friend Mr. Bankes, in whose
family it still remains.[32]

It will be gathered from what I have written that Giorgione and no other
is, in my opinion, the author of this remarkable work. Certain of the
figures are reminiscent of those by him elsewhere--e.g. the old man with
the beard is like the Evander in the Vienna picture, the young man next
the executioner resembles the Adrastus in the Giovanelli figures, and
the young man stooping forward next to Solomon recurs in the "Three
Ages," in the Pitti, which Morelli considered to be by Giorgione. The
most obvious resemblances, however, are to be found in the Glasgow
"Adulteress before Christ," a work which several modern critics assign
to Cariani, although Dr. Bode, Sir Walter Armstrong, and others,
maintain it to be a real Giorgione. Consistently enough, those who
believe in Cariani's authorship in the one case, assert it in the
other,[33] and as consistently I hold that both are by Giorgione. It is
conceivable that Cariani may have copied Giorgione's types and
attitudes, but it is inconceivable to me that he can have so entirely
assimilated Giorgione's temperament to which this "Judgment of Solomon"
so eloquently witnesses. Moreover, let no one say that Cariani executed
what Giorgione designed, for, in spite of its imperfect condition, the
technique reveals a painter groping his way as he works, altering
contours, and making corrections with his brush; in fact, it has all the
spontaneity which characterises an original creation.

The date of its execution may well have been 1507-8, perhaps even
earlier; at any rate, we must not argue from its unfinished state that
the painter's death prevented completion, for the style is not that of
Giorgione's last works. Rather must we conclude that, like the "Aeneas
and Evander," and several other pictures yet to be mentioned, Giorgione
stopped short at his work, unwilling to labour at an uncongenial task
(as, perhaps, in the present case), or from some feeling of
dissatisfaction at the result, nay, even despair of ever realising his
poetical conceptions.

To this important trait in Giorgione's character further reference will
be made when all the available material has been examined; suffice it
for the moment that this "Judgment of Solomon" is to me a most _typical_
example of the great artist's work, a revelation alike of his weaknesses
as of his powers.

Following our method of investigation we will next consider the
pictures which Morelli accredits to Giorgione over and above the seven
already discussed, wherein he concurs with Crowe and Cavalcaselle. These
are twelve in number, and include some of the master's finest works,
some of them unknown to the older authorities, or, at any rate,
unrecorded by them. Here, therefore, the opinions of Crowe and
Cavalcaselle are not of so much weight, so it will be necessary to see
how far Morelli's views have been confirmed by later writers during the
last twenty years.

Three portraits figure in Morelli's list--one at Berlin, one at
Buda-Pesth, and one in the Borghese Gallery at Rome.

[Illustration: _Hanfstängl photo. Berlin Gallery_


First, as to the Berlin "Portrait of a Young Man," which, when Morelli
wrote, belonged to Dr. Richter, and was afterwards acquired for the
Berlin Gallery. "In it we have one of those rare portraits such as only
Giorgione, and occasionally Titian, were capable of producing, highly
suggestive, and exercising over the spectator an irresistible
fascination."[34] Such are the great critic's enthusiastic words, and no
one surely to-day would be found to gainsay them. We may note the
characteristic treatment of the hair, the thoughtful look in the eyes,
and the strong light on the face in contrast to the dark frame of hair,
points which this portrait shares in common with the "Knight of Malta"
in the Uffizi. Particularly to be noticed, however, is the parapet on
which the fingers of one hand are visible, and the mysterious letters
VV.[35] Allusion has already been made to the growing practice in
Venetian art of introducing the hand as a significant feature in
portrait painting, and here we get the earliest indications of this
tendency in Giorgione; for this portrait certainly ante-dates the
"Knight of Malta." It would seem to have been painted quite early in the
last decade of the fifteenth century, when Bellini's art would still be
the predominant influence over the young artist.

It is but a step onward to the next portrait, that of a young man, in
the Gallery at Buda-Pesth, but the supreme distinction which marks this
wonderful head stamps it as a masterpiece of portraiture. Venetian art
has nothing finer to show, whether for its interpretative qualities, or
for the subtlety of its execution. Truly Giorgione has here foreshadowed
Velasquez, whose silveriness of tone is curiously anticipated; yet the
true Giorgionesque quality of magic is felt in a way that the impersonal
Spaniard never realised. Only those who have seen the original can know
of the wonderful atmospheric background, with sky, clouds, and hill-tops
just visible. The reproduction, alas! gives no hint of all this. Nor can
one appreciate the superb painting of the black quilted dress, with its
gold braid, or of the shining black hair, confined in a brown net. The
artist must have been in keen sympathy with this melancholy figure, for
the expression is so intense that, as Morelli says, "he seems about to
confide to us the secret of his life."[36]

Several points claim our attention. First, the parapet has an almost
illegible inscription, ANTONIVS. BROKARDVS. M[=ARI]I.F, presumably the
young man's name. Further, we may notice the recurrence of the letter V
on a black device, and there is a second curious black tablet, which,
however, has nothing on it. Between the two is a circle with a device of
three heads in one surrounded by a garland of flowers. No satisfactory
explanation of these symbols can be offered, but if the second black
tablet had originally another V, we might conclude that these letters
were in some mysterious way connected with Giorgione, as they appear
also on the Berlin portrait. I shall be able to show that another
instance of this double V exists on yet another portrait by

Finally, the expressiveness of the human hand is here fully realised.
This feature alone points to a later date than the "Knight of Malta,"
and considerably after the still earlier Berlin portrait. The consummate
mastery of technique, moreover, indicates that Giorgione has here
reached full maturity, so that it would be safe to place this portrait
about the year 1508.

[Illustration: _Buda-Pesth Gallery_


Signor Venturi ("La Galleria Crespi") ascribes this portrait to Licinio.
This is one of those inexplicable perversions of judgment to which even
the best critics are at times liable. In _L'Arte_, 1900, p. 24, the same
writer mentions that a certain Antonio Broccardo, son of Marino, made
his will in 1527, and that the same name occurs among those who
frequented the University of Bologna in 1525. There is nothing to
prevent Giorgione having painted this man's portrait when younger.

[Illustration: _Anderson photo. Borghese Gallery, Rome_


The third portrait in Morelli's list has not had the same friendly
reception at the hands of later critics as the preceding two have had.
This is the "Portrait of a Lady" in the Borghese Gallery at Rome, whose
discovery by Morelli is so graphically described in a well-known
passage.[38] And in truth it must be confessed that the authorship of
this portrait is not at first sight quite so evident as in the other
cases; nevertheless I am firmly convinced that Morelli saw further than
his critics, and that his intuitive judgment was in this instance
perfectly correct.[39] The simplicity of conception, the intensity of
expression, the pose of the figure alike proclaim the master, whose
characteristic touch is to be seen in the stone ledge, the fancy
head-dress, the arrangement of hair, and the modelling of the features.
The presence of the hands is characteristically explained by the
handkerchief stretched tight between them, the action being expressive
of suppressed excitement: "She stands at a window ... gazing out with a
dreamy, yearning expression, as if seeking to descry one whom she

Licinio, whose name has been proposed as the painter, did indeed follow
out this particular vein of Giorgione's portraiture, so that "Style of
Licinio" is not an altogether inapt attribution; but there is just that
difference of quality between the one man's work and the other, which
distinguishes any great man from his followers, whether in literature or
in art. How near (and yet how far!) Licinio came to his great prototype
is best seen in Lady Ashburton's "Portrait of a Young Man,"[40] but that
he could have produced the Borghese "Lady" presupposes qualities he
never possessed. "To Giorgione alone was it given to produce portraits
of such astonishing simplicity, yet so deeply significant, and capable,
by their mystic charm, of appealing to our imagination in the highest

The actual condition of this portrait is highly unsatisfactory, and is
adduced by some as a reason for condemning it. Yet the spirit of the
master seems still to breathe through the ruin, and to justify Morelli's
ascription, if not the enthusiastic language in which he writes.

[Illustration: _Anderson photo. Seminario, Venice_


With the fourth addition on Morelli's list we pass into a totally
different sphere of art--the decoration of _cassoni_, and other pieces
of furniture. We have seen Giorgione at work on legendary stories or
classic myths, creating out of these materials pages of beauty and
romance in the form of easel paintings, and now we have the same thing
as applied art--that is, art used for purely decorative purposes. The
"Apollo and Daphne" in the Seminario at Venice was probably a panel of a
_cassone_; but although intended for so humble a place, it is instinct
with rare poetic feeling and beauty. Unfortunately it is in such a bad
state that little remains of the original work, and Giorgione's touch
is scarcely to be recognised in the damaged parts. Nevertheless, his
spirit breathes amidst the ruin, and modern critics have recognised the
justice of Morelli's view, rather than that of Crowe and Cavalcaselle,
who suggested Schiavone as the "author."[42] And, indeed, a comparison
with the "Adrastus and Hypsipyle" is enough to show a common origin,
although, as we might expect, the same consummate skill is scarcely to
be found in the _cassone_ panel as in the easel picture. There is a rare
daintiness, however, in these graceful figures, so essentially
Giorgionesque in their fanciful presentation, the young Apollo, a
lovely, fair-haired boy, pursuing a maiden with flowing tresses, whose
identity with Daphne is only to be recognised by the laurel springing
from her fingers. The story is but an episode in a sylvan scene, where
other figures, in quaint costumes, seem to be leading an idyllic
existence, untroubled by the cares of life, and utterly unconcerned at
the strange event passing before their eyes.

From the "Apollo and Daphne" it is an easy transition to the "Venus,"
that great discovery which we owe to Morelli, and now universally
recognised by modern critics. The one point on which Morelli did not,
perhaps, lay sufficient stress, is the co-operation in this work of
Titian with Giorgione, for here we have an additional proof that the
latter left some of his work unfinished. It is a fair inference that
Titian completed the Cupid (now removed), and that he had a hand in
finishing the landscape; the Anonimo, indeed, states as much, and
Ridolfi confirms it, and this view is officially adopted in the latest
edition of the Dresden Catalogue. The style points to Giorgione's
maturity, though scarcely to the last years of his life; for, in spite
of the freedom and breadth of treatment in the landscape, there is a
restraint in the figure, and a delicacy of form which points to a period
preceding, rather than contemporary with, the Louvre "Concert" and
kindred works, where the forms become fuller and rounder, and the
feeling more exuberant.

It would be mere repetition, after all that has been written on the
Dresden "Venus," to enlarge on the qualities of refinement and grace
which characterise the fair form of the sleeping goddess. One need but
compare it with Titian's representations of the same subject, and still
more with Palma's versions at Dresden and Cambridge, or with Cariani's
"Venus" at Hampton Court, to see the classic purity of form, the ideal
loveliness of Giorgione's goddess.[43] It is no mere accident that she
alone is sleeping, whilst they solicit attention. Giorgione's conception
is characteristic in that he endeavours to avoid any touch of realism
abhorrent to his nature, which was far more sensitive than that of
Palma, Cariani, or even Titian.

[Illustration: _Hanfstängl photo_. Dresden Gallery


The extraordinary beauty and subtlety of the master's "line" is
admirably shown. He has deliberately forgone anatomical precision in
order to accentuate artistic effect. The splendour of curve, the beauty
of unbroken contour, the rhythm and balance of composition is attained
at a cost of academic correctness; but the long-drawn horizontal lines
heighten the sense of repose, and the eye is soothed by the sinuous
undulations of landscape and figure. The artistic effect is further
enhanced by the relief of exquisite flesh tones against the rich crimson
drapery, and although the atmospheric glow has been sadly destroyed by
abrasion and repainting, we may still feel something of the magic charm
which Giorgione knew so well how to impart.

This "Venus" is the prototype of all other Venetian versions; it is in
painting what the "Aphrodite" of Praxiteles was in sculpture, a perfect
creation of a master mind.

Scarcely less wonderful than the "Venus," and even surpassing it in
solemn grandeur of conception, is the "Judith" at St. Petersburg.
Morelli himself had never seen the original, and includes it in his list
with the reservation that it might be an old copy after Giorgione, and
not the original. It would be presumptuous for anyone not familiar with
the picture to decide the point, but I have no hesitation in following
the judgment of two competent modern critics, both of whom have recently
visited St. Petersburg, and both of whom have decided unhesitatingly in
favour of its being an original by Giorgione. Dr. Harck has written
enthusiastically of its beauty. "Once seen," he says, "it can never be
forgotten; the same mystic charm, so characteristic of the other great
works of Giorgione, pervades it; ... it bears on the face of it the
stamp of a great master."[44] Even more decisive is the verdict of Mr.
Claude Phillips.[45] "All doubts," he says, "vanish like sun-drawn mist
in the presence of the work itself; the first glance carries with it
conviction, swift and permanent. In no extant Giorgione is the golden
glow so well preserved, in none does the mysterious glamour from which
the world has never shaken itself free, assert itself in more
irresistible fashion.... The colouring is not so much Giorgionesque as
Giorgione's own--a widely different thing.... Wonderful touches which
the imitative Giorgionesque painter would not have thought of are the
girdle, a mauve-purple now, with a sharply emphasised golden fringe, and
the sapphire-blue jewel in the brooch. Triumphs of execution, too, but
not in the broad style of Venetian art in its fullest expansion, are the
gleaming sword held in so dainty and feminine a fashion, and the flowers
which enamel the ground at the feet of the Jewish heroine." This
"Judith," after passing for many years under the names of Raphael and
Moretto,[46] is now officially recognised as Giorgione's work, an
identification first made by the late Herr Penther, the keeper of the
Vienna Academy, whom Morelli quotes.

The conception is wholly Giorgionesque, the mood one of calm
contemplation, as this lovely figure stands lost in reverie, with eyes
cast down, gazing on the head on which her foot is lightly laid. The
head and sword proclaim her story, they are symbols of her mission, else
she had been taken for an embodiment of feminine modesty and gentle

[Illustration: _Braun photo. Hermitage Gallery, St. Petersburg_


Characteristic of the master is the introduction of the great
tree-trunk, conveying a sense of grandeur and solemn mystery to the
scene; characteristic, too, is the distant landscape, the splendid glow
of which evokes special praise from the writers just mentioned. Again we
find the parapet, or ledge, with its flat surface on which the play of
light can be caught, and again the same curious folds, broken and
crumpled, such as are seen on Solomon's robe in the Kingston Lacy
picture, and somewhat less emphatically in the Castelfranco "Madonna."

Consistent, moreover, with that weakness we have already noticed
elsewhere, is the design of the leg and foot, the drawing of which is
far from impeccable. That the execution in this respect is not equal to
the supreme conception of the whole, is no valid reason for the belief
that this "Judith" is only a copy of a lost original, a belief that
could apparently only be held by those who have never stood before the
picture itself.[48] But even in the reproduction this "Judith" stands
confessed as the most impressive of all Giorgione's single figures, and
it may well rank as the masterpiece of the earlier period immediately
preceding the Castelfranco picture of about 1504, to which in style it
closely approximates.

The next picture on Morelli's list is the "Fête Champêtre" of the
Louvre, or, as it is often called, the "Concert." This lovely "Pastoral
Symphony" (which appears to me a more suitable English title) is by no
means universally regarded as a creation of Giorgione's hand and brain,
and several modern critics have been at pains to show that Campagnola,
or some other Venetian imitator of the great master, really produced
it.[49] In this endeavour Crowe and Cavalcaselle led the way by
suggesting the author was probably an imitator of Sebastiano del Piombo.
But all this must surely seem to be heresy when we stand before the
picture itself, thrilled by the gorgeousness of its colour, by the
richness of the paradise" in which the air is balmy, and the landscape
ever green; where life is a pastime, and music the only labour; where
groves are interspersed with meadows and fountains; where nymphs sit
playfully on the grass, or drink at cool springs."[50] Was ever such a
gorgeous idyll? In the whole range of painted poetry can the like be

[Illustration: _Braun photo. Louvre, Paris_


Yet let us be more precise in our analysis. Granted that the scene is
one eminently adapted to Giorgione's poetic temperament, is the
execution analogous to that which we have found in the preceding
examples? No one will deny, I suppose, that there is a difference
between the intensely refined forms of the Venus, or the earlier
Hypsipyle, or the Daphne, and the coarser nudes in the Louvre picture.
No one will deny a certain carelessness marks the delineation of form,
no one will gainsay a frankly sensuous charm pervades the scene, a
feeling which seems at first sight inconsistent with that reticence and
modesty so conspicuous elsewhere. Yet I think all this is perfectly
explicable on the basis of natural evolution. Exuberance of feeling is
the logical outcome of a lifetime spent in an atmosphere of lyrical
thought, and certainly Giorgione was not the sort of man to control
those natural impulses, which grew stronger with advancing years. Both
traditions of his death point in this direction; and, unless I am
mistaken, the quality of his art, as well as its character, reflects
this tendency. In his later years, 1508-10, he attains indeed a
magnificence and splendour which dazzles the eye, but it is at the cost
of that feeling of restraint which gives the earlier work such exquisite
charm. In such a work as the Louvre "Concert," Giorgio has become
Giorgione; he is riper in experience and richer in feeling, and his art
assumes a corresponding exuberance of style, his forms become larger,
his execution grows freer. Nay, more, that strain of carelessness is not
wanting which so commonly accompanies such evolutions of character. And
so this "Pastoral Symphony" becomes a characteristic production--that
is, one which a man of Giorgione's temperament would naturally produce
in the course of his developing. Peculiar, however, to an artist of
genius is the subtlety of composition, which is held together by
invisible threads, for nowhere else, perhaps, has Giorgione shown a
greater mastery of line. The diagonal line running from behind the nude
figure on the left down to the foot so cunningly extended of the seated
youth, is beautifully balanced by the line which is formed by the seated
figure of the woman. The artist has deliberately emphasised this line by
the curious posture of the legs. The figure, indeed, does not sit at
all, but the balance of the composition is the better assured. What
exquisite curves the standing woman presents! how cleverly the drapery
continues the beautiful line, which Giorgione takes care not to break by
placing the left leg and foot out of sight. How marvellously expressive,
nay, how _inevitable_ is the hand of the youth who is playing. Surely
neither Campagnola nor any other second-rate artist was capable of such

[Illustration: _Alinari photo. Pitti Gallery, Florence_


The eighth picture cited by Morelli as, in his opinion, a genuine
Giorgione, is the so-called "Three Ages of Man," in the Pitti at
Florence--a damaged picture, but parts of which, as he says, "are still
so splendid and so thoroughly Giorgionesque that I venture to ascribe it
without hesitation to Giorgione."[51] The three figures are grouped
naturally, and are probably portraits from life. The youth in the centre
we have already met in the Kingston Lacy "Judgment of Solomon"; the man
on the right recurs in the "Family Concert" at Hampton Court, and is
strangely like the S. Maurice in the signed altar-piece at Berlin by
Luzzi da Feltre.[52] But like though they be in type, in quality the
heads in the "Three Ages" are immensely superior to those in the Berlin
picture. The same models may well have served Giorgione and his friend
and pupil Luzzi, or, as he is generally called, Morto da Feltre. A
recent study of the few authenticated works by this feeble artist still
at Feltre, his native place, forces me to dissent from the opinion that
the Pitti "Three Ages" is the work of his hand.[53] Still less do I
hold with the view that Lotto is the author.[54] Here, again, I believe
Morelli saw further than other critics, and that his attribution is the
right one. The simplicity, the apparently unstudied grouping, the
refinement of type, the powerful expression, are worthy of the master;
the play of light on the faces, especially on that of the youth, is most
characteristic, and the peculiar chord of colour reveals a sense of
originality such as no imitator would command. Unless I am mistaken, the
man on the right is none other than the Aeneas in the Vienna picture,
and his hand with the pointing forefinger is such as we see two or three
times over in the "Judgment of Solomon" and elsewhere. Certainly here it
is awkwardly introduced, obviously to bring the figure into direct
relation with the others; but Giorgione is by no means always supreme
master of natural expression, as the hands in the "Adrastus and
Hypsipyle" and Vienna pictures clearly show.

Here, for the first time, we meet Giorgione in those studies of human
nature which are commonly called "conversation pieces," or
"concerts"--natural groups of generally three people knit together by
some common bond, which is usually music in one form or another. It is
not the idyll of the "Pastoral Symphony," but akin to it as an
expression of some exquisite moment of thought or feeling, an ideal
instant "in which, arrested thus, we seem to be spectators of all the
fulness of existence, and which is like some consummate extract or
quintessence of life."[55] No one before Giorgione's time had painted
such ideas, such poems without articulated story; and to have reached
this stage of development presupposes a familiarity with set subjects
such as a classic myth or mediaeval romance would offer for treatment.
And so this "Three Ages" dates from his later years.

[Illustration: _Anderson photo. Pitti Gallery, Florence_


Another picture in the Pitti was also recognised by Morelli as
Giorgione's work--"The Nymph pursued by a Satyr." Modern criticism seems
undecided on the justice of this view, some writers inclining to the
belief that this is a Giorgionesque production of Dosso Dossi, others
preserving a discreet silence, or making frank avowal of their inability
to decide. Nevertheless, I venture to agree with Morelli that "we have
all the characteristics of an early (?) work of Giorgione--the type of
the nymph with the low forehead, the charming arrangement of the hair
upon the temples, the eyes placed near together, and the hand with
tapering fingers."[56] The oval of the face recalls the "Knight of
Malta," the high cranium and treatment of the hair such as we find in
the Dresden "Venus" and elsewhere. The delicacy of modelling, the beauty
of the features are far beyond Dosso's powers, who, brilliant artist as
he sometimes was, was of much coarser fibre than the painter of these
figures. The difference of calibre between the two is well illustrated
by comparing Giorgione's "Satyr" with Dosso's frankly vulgar "Buffone"
in the Modena Gallery, or with those uncouth productions, also in the
Pitti, the "S. John Baptist" and the "Bambocciate."[57] Were the
repaints removed, I think all doubts as to the authorship would be set
at rest, and the "Nymph and Satyr" would take its place among the
slighter and more summary productions of Giorgione's brush.

[Illustration: _Laurent_ photo. Prado Gallery, Madrid


Only one sacred subject figures in the additions made by Morelli to the
list of genuine Giorgiones. This is the small altar-piece at Madrid,
with Madonna seated between S. Francis and S. Roch. Traditionally
accredited to Pordenone, it has now received official recognition as a
masterpiece of Giorgione, an attribution that, so far as I am aware, no
one has seriously contested.[58] And, indeed, it is hard to conceive
wherein any objection could possibly lie, for it is a typical creation
of the master, _usque ad unguem_. Not only in types, colour, light and
shade, and particularly in feeling, is the picture characteristic, but
it again shows the artist leaving work unfinished, and again reveals the
fact that the work grew in conception as it was actually being painted.
I mean that the whole figure of S. Roch has been painted in over the
rest, and that the S. Francis has also probably been introduced
afterwards. I have little doubt that originally Giorgione intended to
paint a simple Madonna and Child, and afterwards extended the scheme.
The composition of three figures, practically in a row, is moreover most
unusual, and contrary to that triangular scheme particularly favoured by
the master, whereas the lovely sweep of Madonna's dress by itself
creates a perfect design on a triangular basis. A great artist is here
revealed, one whose feeling for line is so intense that he wilfully
casts the drapery in unnatural folds in order to secure an artistic
triumph. The working out of the dress within this line has yet to be
done, the folds being merely suggested, and this task has been left
whilst forwarding other parts. The freedom of touch and thinness of
paint indicates how rapidly the artist worked. There is little
deliberation apparent: indeed, the effect is that of hasty
improvisation. Velasquez could not have painted the stone on which S.
Roch rests his foot with greater precision or more consummate mastery;
the delicacy of flesh tints is amazing. The bit of landscape behind S.
Roch (invisible in the reproduction), with its stately tree trunk rising
solitary beside the hanging curtain, strikes a note of romance, fit
accompaniment to the bizarre figure of the saint in his orange jerkin
and blue leggings. How mysterious, too, is S. Francis!--rapt in his own
thoughts, yet strangely human.

[Illustration: _Buda-Pesth Gallery_


We have now examined ten of the twelve pictures added, on Morelli's
initiative, to the list of genuine works, and we have found very little,
if any, serious opposition on the part of later writers to his views.
Not so, however, with regard to the remaining two pictures. The first of
these is a fragment in the gallery of Buda-Pesth, representing two
figures in a landscape. All modern critics are agreed that Morelli has
here mistaken an old copy after Giorgione for an original, a mistake we
may readily pardon in consideration of the successful identification he
has made of these figures with the Shepherds, in the composition seen
and described by the Anonimo in 1525 as the "Birth of Paris," by
Giorgione. This identification is fully confirmed by the engraving made
by Th. von Kessel for the _Theatrum Pictorium_, which shows how these
two figures are placed in the composition. Where, as in the present
case, the original is missing, even a partial copy is of great value,
for in it we can see the mind, if not the hand, of the great master. The
Anonimo tells us this "Birth of Paris" was one of Giorgione's early
works, a statement worthy of credence from the still Bellinesque stamp
and general likeness of one of the Shepherds to the "Adrastus" in the
Giovanelli picture. In pose, type, arrangement of hair, and in landscape
this fragment is thoroughly Giorgionesque, and we have, moreover, those
most characteristic traits, the pointing forefinger, and the unbroken
curve of outline. The execution is, however, raw and crude, and entirely
wanting in the magic quality of the master's own touch.[59]

[Illustration: _Dixon photo. Hampton Court Palace Gallery_


Finally, on Morelli's list figures the "Shepherd" at Hampton Court, for
the genuineness of which the critic would not absolutely vouch, as he
had only seen it in a bad light. Perhaps no picture has been so strongly
championed by an enthusiastic writer as has been this "Shepherd" by Mr.
Berenson, who strenuously advocates its title to genuineness.[60]
Nevertheless, several modern authorities remain unconvinced in presence
of the work itself. The conception is unquestionably Giorgione's own,
as we may see from a picture now in the Vienna Gallery, where this head
is repeated in a representation of the young David holding the head of
Goliath. The Vienna picture is, however, but a copy of a lost original
by Giorgione, the existence of which is independently attested by
Vasari.[61] Now, the question naturally arises, What relation does the
Hampton Court "Shepherd" bear to this "David," Giorgione's lost
original? It is possible, of course, that the master repeated himself,
merely transforming the David into a Shepherd, or _vice versâ_, and it
is equally possible that some other and later artist adapted Giorgione's
"David" to his own end, utilising the conception that is, and carrying
it out in his own way. Arguing purely _a priori_, the latter possibility
is the more likely, inasmuch as we know Giorgione hardly ever repeats a
figure or a composition, whereas Titian, Cariani, and other later
Venetian artists freely adopted Giorgione's ideas, his types, and his
compositions for their own purposes. Internal evidence appears to me,
moreover, to confirm this view, for the general style of painting seems
to indicate a later period than 1510, the year of Giorgione's death. The
flimsy folds, in particular, are not readily recognisable as the
master's own. A comparison with a portrait in the Gallery of Padua
reveals, particularly in this respect, striking resemblances. This fine
portrait was identified by both Crowe and Cavalcaselle and by Morelli as
the work of Torbido, and I venture to place the reproduction of it
beside that of the "Shepherd" for comparison. It is not easy to
pronounce on the technical qualities of either work, for both have
suffered from re-touching and discolouring varnish, and the hand of the
"Shepherd" is certainly damaged. Yet, whilst admitting that the evidence
is inconclusive, I cannot refrain from suggesting Torbido's name as
possible author of the "Shepherd," the more so as we know he carefully
studied and formed his style upon Giorgione's work.[62] It is at least
conceivable that he took Giorgione's "David with the Head of Goliath,"
and by a simple, and in this case peculiarly appropriate,
transformation, changed him into a shepherd boy holding a flute.

We have now taken all the pictures which either Crowe and Cavalcaselle
or Morelli, or both, assign to Giorgione himself. There still remain,
however, three or four works to be mentioned where these authorities
hold opposite views which require some examination.

First and foremost comes the "Concert" in the Pitti Gallery, a work
which was regarded by Crowe and Cavalcaselle not only as a genuine
example of Giorgione's art, but as "not having its equal in any period
of Giorgione's practice. It gives," they go on, "a just measure of his
skill, and explains his celebrity."[63] Morelli, on the contrary, holds:
"It has unfortunately been so much damaged by a restorer that little
enough remains of the original, yet from the form of the hands and of
the ear, and from the gestures of the figures, we are led to infer that
it is not a work of Giorgione, but belongs to a somewhat later period.
If the repaint covering the surface were removed we should, I think,
find that it is an early work by Titian."[64] Where Morelli hesitated
his followers have decided, and accordingly, in Mr. Berenson's list, in
Mr. Claude Phillips' "Life of Titian," and in the latest biography on
that master, published by Dr. Gronau, we find the "Concert" put down to
Titian. On the other hand, Dr. Bode, Signor Conti in his monograph on
Giorgione, M. Müntz, and the authorities in Florence support the
traditional view that the "Concert" is a masterpiece of Giorgione.

[Illustration: _Alinari photo. Pitti Gallery, Florence_


Which view is the right one? To many this may appear an academic
discussion of little value, for, _ipso facto_, the quality of the work
is admitted by all. The picture is a fine thing, in spite of its
imperfect condition, and what matter whether Titian or Giorgione be the
author? But to this sort of argument it may be said that until we do
know what is Giorgione's work and what is not, it is impossible to gauge
accurately the nature and scope of his art, or to reach through that
channel the character of the artist behind his work. In the case of
Giorgione and Titian, the task of drawing the dividing line is one of
unusual difficulty, and a long and careful study of the question has
convinced me that this will have to be done in a way that modern
criticism has not yet attempted. From the very earliest days the two
have been so inextricably confused that it will require a very
exhaustive re-examination of all the evidence in the light of modern
discoveries, documentary and pictorial, coupled, I am afraid, with the
recognition of the fact that much modern criticism on this point has
been curiously at fault. This is neither the time nor the place to
discuss the question of Titian's early work, but I feel sure that this
chapter of art history has yet to be correctly written.[65] One of the
determining factors in the discussion will be the authorship of the
Pitti "Concert," for our estimate of Giorgione or Titian must be
coloured appreciably by the recognition of such an epoch-making picture
as the work of one or the other.

It is, therefore, peculiarly unfortunate that the two side figures in
this wonderful group are so rubbed and repainted as almost to defy
certainty of judgment. In conception and spirit they are typically
Giorgionesque, and Morelli, I imagine, would scarcely have made the bold
suggestion of Titian's authorship but for the central figure of the
young monk playing the harpsichord. This head stands out in grand
relief, being in a far purer state of preservation than the rest, and we
are able to appreciate to some extent the extraordinarily subtle
modelling of the features, the clear-cut contours, the intensity of
expression. The fine portrait in the Louvre, known as "L'homme au gant,"
an undoubted early work of Titian, is singularly close in character and
style, as was first pointed out by Mr. Claude Phillips,[66] and it was
this general reminiscence, more than points of detail in an admittedly
imperfect work that seemingly induced Morelli to suggest Titian's name
as possible author of the "Concert." Nevertheless, I cannot allow this
plausible comparison to outweigh other and more vital considerations.
The subtlety of the composition, the bold sweep of diagonal lines, the
way the figure of the young monk is "built up" on a triangular design,
the contrasts of black and white, are essentially Giorgione's own. So,
too, is the spirit of the scene, so telling in its movement, gesture,
and expression. Surely it is needless to translate all that is most
characteristic of Giorgione in his most personal expression into a
"Giorgionesque" mood of Titian. No, let us admit that Titian owed much
to his friend and master (more perhaps than we yet know), but let us not
needlessly deprive Giorgione of what is, in my opinion at least, the
great creation of his maturer years, the Pitti "Concert." I am inclined
to place it about 1506-7, and to regard it as the earliest and finest
expression in Venetian art of that kind of genre painting of which we
have already studied another, though later example, "The Three Ages" (in
the Pitti). The second work where Crowe and Cavalcaselle hold a
different view from Morelli is a "Portrait of a Man" in the Gallery of
Rovigo (No. 11). The former writers declare that it, "perhaps more than
any other, approximates to the true style of Giorgione."[67] With such
praise sounding in one's ears it is somewhat of a shock to discover that
this "grave and powerfully wrought creation" is a miniature 7 by 6
inches in size. Such an insignificant fragment requires no serious
consideration; at most it would seem only to be a reduced copy after
some lost original. Morelli alludes to it as a copy after Palma, but one
may well doubt whether he is not referring to another portrait in the
same gallery (No. 123). Be that as it may, this "Giorgione" miniature
is sadly out of place among genuine pieces of the master.[68]

[Illustration: _Hanfstängl photo. National Gallery, London_


One other picture, of special interest to English people, is in dispute.
By Crowe and Cavalcaselle "The Adoration of the Magi," now in the
National Gallery (No. 1160), is attributed to the master himself; by
Morelli it was assigned to Catena.[69] This brilliant little panel is
admittedly by the same hand that painted the Beaumont "Adoration of the
Shepherds," and yet another picture presently to be mentioned. We have
already agreed to the propriety of attribution in the former case; it
follows, therefore, that here also Giorgione's name is the correct one,
and his name, we are glad to see, has recently been placed on the label
by the Director of the Gallery.

This beautiful little panel, which came from the Leigh Court Collection,
under Bellini's name, has much of the depth, richness, and glow which
characterises the Beaumont picture, although the latter is naturally
more attractive, owing to the wonderful landscape and the more elaborate
chiaroscuro. The figures are Bellinesque, yet with that added touch of
delicacy and refinement which Giorgione always knows how to impart. The
richness of colouring, the depth of tone, the glamour of the whole is
far superior to anything that we can point to with certainty as Catena's
work; and no finer example of his "Giorgionesque" phase is to be found
than the sumptuous "Warrior adoring the Infant Christ," which hangs
close by, whilst his delicate little "S. Jerome in his Study," also in
the same room, challenges comparison. Catena's work seems cold and
studied beside the warmth and spontaneity of Giorgione's little panel,
which is, indeed, as Crowe and Cavalcaselle assert, "of the most
picturesque beauty in distribution, colour, and costume."[70] It must
date from before 1500, probably just before the Beaumont "Nativity," and
proves how, even at that early time, Giorgione's art was rapidly
maturing into full splendour.

The total list of genuine works so far amounts to but twenty-three. Let
us see if we can accept a few others which later writers incline to
attribute to the master. I propose to limit the survey strictly to those
pictures which have found recognised champions among modern critics of
repute, for to challenge every "Giorgione" in public and private
collections would be a Herculean task, well calculated to provoke an
incredulous smile!

[Illustration: _Dixon photo. Duke of Devonshire's Collection,


Mr. Berenson, in his _Venetian Painters_, includes two other pictures in
an extremely exclusive list of seventeen genuine Giorgiones. These are
both in Venice, "The Christ bearing the Cross" (in S. Rocco), and "The
Storm calmed by S. Mark" (in the Academy). The question whether or no we
are to accept the former of these pictures has its origin in a curious
contradiction of Vasari, who, in the first edition of his Lives (1550),
names Giorgione as the painter, whilst in the second (1565), he assigns
the authorship to Titian. Later writers follow the latter statement, and
to this day the local guides adhere to this tradition. That the
attribution to Giorgione, however, was still alive in 1620-5, is proved
by the sketch of the picture made by the young Van Dyck during his visit
to Italy, for he has affixed Giorgione's name to it, and not that of
Titian.[71] I am satisfied that this tradition is correct. Giorgione,
and not Titian, painted the still lovely head of Christ, and Giorgione,
not Titian, drew the arm and hand of the Jew who is dragging at the
rope. Characteristic touches are to be seen in the turn of the head, the
sloping axis of the eyes, and especially the fine oval of the face, and
bushy hair. This is the type of Giorgione's Christ; "The Tribute Money"
(at Dresden) shows Titian's. Unfortunately the panel has lost all its
tone, all its glow, and most of its original colour, and we can scarcely
any longer admire the picture which, in Vasari's graphic language, "is
held in the highest veneration by many of the faithful, and even
performs miracles, as is frequently seen"; and again (in his _Life of
Titian_), "it has received more crowns as offerings than have been
earned by Titian and Giorgione both, through the whole course of their

The other picture included by Mr. Berenson in his list is the large
canvas in the Venice Academy, with "The Storm calmed by S. Mark."
According to this critic it is a late work, finished, in small part, by
Paris Bordone. In my opinion, it would be far wiser to withhold
definite judgment in a case where a picture has been so entirely
repainted. Certainly, in its present state, it is impossible to
recognise Giorgione's touch, whilst the glaring red tones of the flesh
and the general smeariness of the whole render all enjoyment out of
question. I am willing to admit that the conception may have been
Giorgione's, although even then it would stand alone as evidence of an
imagination almost Michelangelesque in its _terribilità._ Zanetti (1760)
was the first to connect Giorgione's name with this canvas, Vasari
bestowing inordinate praise upon it as the work of Palma Vecchio! It
only remains to add that this is the companion piece to the well-known
"Fisherman presenting the Ring to the Doge," by Paris Bordone, which
also hangs in the Venice Academy. Both illustrate the same legend, and
both originally hung in the Scuola di S. Marco.

[Illustration: _Anderson photo. Padua Gallery_


Finally, two _cassone_ panels in the gallery at Padua have been
acclaimed by Signor Venturi as the master's own,[72] and with that view
I am entirely agreed. The stories represented are not easily
determinable (as is so often the case with Giorgione), but probably
refer to the legends of Adonis.[73] The splendour of colour, the lurid
light, the richness of effect, are in the highest degree impressive.
What artist but Giorgione would have so revelled in the glories of the
evening sunset, the orange horizon, the distant blue hills? The same
gallery affords several instances of similar decorative pieces by
other Venetian artists which serve admirably to show the great gulf
fixed in quality between Giorgione's work and that of the Schiavones,
the Capriolis, and others who imitated him.[74]


[11] Oxford Lecture, reported in the _Pall Mall Gazette_, Nov. 10, 1884.

[12] See _postea_, p. 63.

[13] Bellini adopted it later in his S. Giov. Crisostomo altar-piece of

[14] All the more surprising is it that it receives no mention from
Vasari, who merely states that the master worked at Castelfranco.

[15] I unhesitatingly adopt the titles recently given to these pictures
by Herr Franz Wickhoff (_Jahrbuch der Preussischen Kunstsammlungen_,
Heft. i. 1895), who has at last succeeded in satisfactorily explaining
what has puzzled all the writers since the days of the Anonimo.

[16] Statius: _Theb_. iv. 730 _ff_. See p. 135.

[17] _Aen._ viii. 306-348.

[18] Fry: _Giovanni Bellini_, p. 39.

[19] ii. 214.

[20] Ridolfi mentions the following as having been painted by
Giorgione:--"The Age of Gold," "Deucalion and Pyrrha," "Jove hurling
Thunderbolts at the Giants," "The Python," "Apollo and Daphne," "Io
changed into a Cow," "Phaeton, Diana, and Calisto," "Mercury stealing
Apollo's Arms," "Jupiter and Pasiphae," "Cadmus sowing the Dragon's
Teeth," "Dejanira raped by Nessus," and various episodes in the life of

[21] In the Venice Academy.

[22] _Archivio, Anno VI_., where reproductions of the two are given side
by side, _fasc_. vi. p. 412.

[23] The Berlin example (by the Pseudo-Basaiti) is reproduced in the
Illustrated Catalogue of the recent exhibition of Renaissance Art at
Berlin; the Rovigo version (under Leonardo's name!) is possibly by

Two other repetitions exist, one at Stuttgart, the other in the
collection of Sir William Farrer. (Venetian Exhibition, New Gallery,
1894, No. 76.)

[24] Gentile Bellini's three portraits in the National Gallery (Nos.
808, 1213, 1440) illustrate this growing tendency in Venetian art; all
three probably date from the first years of the sixteenth century.
Gentile died in 1507.

[25] Berenson: _Venetian Painters_, 3rd edition.

[26] _Daily Telegraph_, December 29th, 1899.

[27] Even the so-called Pseudo-Basaiti has been separated and
successfully diagnosed.

[28] 1895 Catalogue.

[29] See Appendix, where the letters are printed in full.

[30] Crowe and Cavalcaselle, ii. 142, and note.

[31] Giorgione painted in fresco in the portico of this palace. Zanetti
has preserved the record of a figure said to be "Diligence," in his
print published in 1760.

[32] See Byron's _Life and Letters_, by Thomas Moore, p. 705.

[33] See Berenson's _Venetian Painters_, illustrated edition.

[34] Morelli, ii. 219.

[35] See p. 32 for a possible explanation of these letters.

[36] ii. 218

[37] It has been suggested to me by Dr. Williamson that the letters may
possibly be intended for ZZ (=Zorzon). In old MSS. the capital Z is
sometimes made thus _[closed V]_ or _V._

[38] i. 248.

[39] The methods by which he arrived at his conclusion are strangely at
variance with those he so strenuously advocates, and to which the name
of Morellian has come to be attached.

[40] Reproduced in _Venetian Art at the New Gallery_, under Giorgione's
name, but unanimously recognised as a work of Licinio.

[41] i. 249.

[42] Dr. Bode and Signor Venturi both recognise it as Giorgione's work.

[43] To what depths of vulgarity the Venetian School could sink in later
times, Palma Giovane's "Venus" at Cassel testifies.

[44] _Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft_. 1896. xix. Band. 6 Heft.

[45] _North American Review_, October 1899.

[46] It was photographed by Braun with this attribution.

[47] Catena has adopted this Giorgionesque conception in his "Judith" in
the Querini-Stampalia Gallery in Venice.

[48] See _Gazette des Beaux Arts_, 1897, tom, xviii. p. 279.

[49] See _Gazette des Beaux Arts_, 1893, tom. ix. p. 135 (Prof.
Wickhoff); 1894, tom. xii. p. 332 (Dr. Gronau); and _Repertorium für
Kunstwissenschaft_, tom. xiv. p. 316 (Herr von Seidlitz).

[50] Crowe and Cavalcaselle, ii. 147.

[51] ii. 217.

[52] Dr. Gronau points this out in _Rep_. xviii. 4, p. 284.

[53] See _Guide to the Italian Pictures_ at Hampton Court, by Mary
Logan, 1894.

[54] Official Catalogue, and Crowe and Cavalcaselle, ii. 502.

[55] Pater: _The Renaissance_, p. 158.

[56] ii. 219.

[57] The execution of this grotesque picture is probably due to Girolamo
da Carpi, or some other assistant of Dosso.

[58] Crowe and Cavalcaselle, ii. 292, unaccountably suggested Francesco
Vecellio (!) as the author.

[59] The subject is derived from a passage in the _De Divinitate_ of
Cicero, as Herr Wickhoff has pointed out.

[60] See _Venetian Painting at the New Gallery_. 1895.

[61] Unless we are to suppose that Vasari mistook a copy for an

[62] Francesco Torbido, called "il Moro," born about 1490, and still
living in 1545. Vasari states that he actually worked under Giorgione.
Signed portraits by him are in the Brera, at Munich, and Naples. Palma
Vecchio also deserves serious consideration as possible author of the
"Shepherd Boy."

[63] Crowe and Cavalcaselle, ii. 144.

[64] Morelli, ii. 212.

[65] See Appendix, p. 123.

[66] Quoted by Morelli, ii. 212, note.

[67] Crowe and Cavalcaselle, ii. 155.

[68] Crowe and Cavalcaselle also cite a portrait in the Casa Ajata at
Crespano; as I have never seen this piece I cannot discuss it. It was
apparently unknown to Morelli, nor is it mentioned by other critics.

[69] Morelli, ii. 205.

[70] Crowe and Cavalcaselle, ii. 128. Mr. Claude Phillips, in the
_Gazette des Beaux Arts_, 1884, p. 286, rightly admits Giorgione's

[71] This sketch is to be found in Van Dyck's note-book, now in
possession of the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth. It is here
reproduced, failing an illustration of the original picture, which the
authorities in Venice decline to have made. (A good reproduction has now
(1903) been made by Anderson of Rome.)

[72] _Archivio Storico_, vi. 409.

[73] Ridolfi tells us Giorgione painted, among a long list of decorative
pieces, "The Birth of Adonis," "Venus and Adonis embracing," and "Adonis
killed by the Boar." It is possible he was alluding to these very
_cassone_ panels.

[74] The other important additions made by Signor Venturi in his recent
volume, _La Galleria Crespi_, are alluded to _in loco_, further on. I am
delighted to find some of my own views anticipated in a wholly
independent fashion.



It is necessary for anyone who seeks to recover the missing or
unidentified works of an artist like Giorgione, first to define his
conception of the artist based upon a study of acknowledged materials.
The preceding chapter has been devoted to a survey of the best
authenticated pictures, the evidence for the genuineness of which is, as
we have seen, largely a matter of personal opinion. Nevertheless there
is, on the whole, a unanimity of judgment sufficient to warrant our
drawing several inferences as to the general character of Giorgione's
work, and to attempt a chronological arrangement of the twenty-six
pictures here accepted as genuine.

The first and most obvious fact then to be noted is the amazing variety
of subjects handled by the master. Religious paintings, whether
altar-pieces or easel pictures of a devotional character, are
interspersed with mediaeval allegories, genre subjects, decorative
_cassone_ panels, portraiture, and purely lyrical "Fantasiestücke,"
corresponding somewhat with the modern "Landscape with Figures." Truly
an astonishing range! Giorgione, as we have seen, could not have been
more than eighteen years in active practice, yet in that short time he
gained successes in all these various fields. His many-sidedness shows
him to have been a man of wide sympathies, whilst the astonishing
rapidity of his development testifies to the precocity of his talent.
His versatility and his precocity are, in fact, the two most prominent
characteristics to be borne in mind in judging his art, for much that
appears at first sight incongruous, if not utterly irreconcilable, can
be explained on this basis. For versatility and precocity in an artist
are qualities invariably attended by unevenness of workmanship, as we
see in the cases of Keats and Schubert, who were gifted with the lyrical
temperament and powers of expression in poetry and music in
corresponding measure to Giorgione in painting. It would show want of
critical acumen to expect from Keats the consistency of Milton, or that
Schubert should keep the unvarying high level of Beethoven, and it is
equally unreasonable to exact from Giorgione the uniform excellence
which characterises Titian. I do not propose at this point to work out
the comparison between the painter, the musician, and the poet; this
must be reserved until the final summing-up of Giorgione as artist, when
we have examined all his work. But this point I do insist on, that from
the very nature of things Giorgione's art is, and must be, uneven, that
whilst at times it reaches sublime heights, at other times it attains to
a level of only average excellence.

And so the criticism which condemns a picture claiming to be Giorgione's
because "it is not _good_ enough for him," does not recognise the truth
that for all that it may be _characteristic_, and, consequently,
perfectly authentic. Modern criticism has been apt to condemn because
it has expected too much; let us not blind our eyes to the weaknesses,
even to the failures of great men, who, if they lose somewhat of the
hero in our eyes, win our sympathy and our love the more for being

I have spoken of Giorgione's versatility, his precocity, and the natural
inequality of his work. There is another characteristic which commonly
exists when these qualities are found united, and that is
Productiveness. Giorgione, according to all analogy, must have produced
a mass of work. It is idle to assert, as some modern writers have done,
that at the utmost his easel pictures could have been but few, because
most of his short life was devoted to painting frescoes, which have
perished. It is true that Giorgione spent time and energy over fresco
painting, and from the very publicity of such work as the frescoes on
the Fondaco de' Tedeschi, he came to be widely known in this direction,
but it is infinitely probable that his output in other branches was
enormous. The twenty-six pictures we have already accepted, plus the
lost frescoes, cannot possibly represent the sum-total of his artistic
activities, and to say that everything else has disappeared is, as I
shall try to show, not correct. We know, moreover, from the Anonimo (who
was almost Giorgione's contemporary) that many pictures existed in his
day which cannot now be traced,[75] and if we add these and some of the
others cited by Vasari and Ridolfi (without assuming that every one was
a genuine example), it goes to prove that Giorgione did paint a good
number of easel pictures. But the evidence of the twenty-six themselves
is conclusive. They illustrate so many different phases, they stand
sometimes so widely apart, that intermediate links are necessarily
implied. Moreover, as Giorgione's influence on succeeding artists is
allowed by all writers, a considerable number of his easel pictures must
have been in circulation, from which these imitators drew inspiration,
for he certainly never kept, as Bellini did, a body of assistants and
pupils to hand on his teaching, and disseminate his style.

Productiveness must then have been a feature of his art, and as so few
pictures have as yet come to be accepted as genuine, the majority must
have perished or been lost to sight for the time. That much yet remains
hidden away in private possession I am fully persuaded, especially in
England and in Italy, and one day we may yet find the originals of the
several old copies after Giorgione which I enumerate elsewhere.[76] In
some cases I believe I have been fortunate enough to detect actually
missing originals, and occasionally restore to Giorgione pieces that
parade under Titian's name. Much, however, yet remains to be done, and
the research work now being systematically conducted in the Venetian
archives by Dr. Gustav Ludwig and Signor Pietro Paoletti may yield rich
results in the discovery of documents relating to the master himself,
which may help us to identify his productions, and possibly confirm some
of the conjectures I venture to make in the following chapters.[77]

But before proceeding to examine other pictures which I am persuaded
really emanate from Giorgione himself, let us attempt to place in
approximate chronological order the twenty-six works already accepted as
genuine, for, once their sequence is established, we shall the more
readily detect the lacunae in the artist's evolution, and so the more
easily recognise any missing transitional pieces which may yet exist.

The earliest stage in Giorgione's career is naturally marked by
adherence to the teaching and example of his immediate predecessors.
However precocious he may have been, however free from academic
training, however independent of the tradition of the schools, he
nevertheless clearly betrays an artistic dependence, above all, on
Giovanni Bellini. The "Christ bearing the Cross" and the two little
pictures in the Uffizi are direct evidence of this, and these,
therefore, must be placed quite early in his career. We should not be
far wrong in dating them 1493-5. Carpaccio's influence is also apparent,
as we have already noticed, and through this channel Giorgione's art
connects with the more archaic style of Gentile Bellini, Giovanni's
elder brother. Thus in him are united the quattrocentist tradition and
the fresher ideals of the cinquecento, which found earliest expression
in Giambellini's Allegories of about 1486-90. The poetic element in
these works strongly appealed to Giorgione's sensitive nature, and we
find him developing this side of his art in the Beaumont "Adoration,"
and the National Gallery "Epiphany," both of which are clearly early
productions. But there is a gap of a few years between the Uffizi
pictures and the London ones, for the latter are maturer in every way,
and it is clear that the interval must have been spent in constant
practice. Yet we cannot point with certainty to any of the other
pictures in our list as standing midway in development, and here it is
that a lacuna exists in the artist's career. Two or three years,
possibly more, remain unaccounted for, just at a period, too, when the
young artist would be most impressionable. I am inclined to think that
he may have painted the "Birth of Paris" during these years, but we have
only the copy of a part of the composition to go by, and the statement
of the Anonimo that the picture was one of Giorgione's early works.

The "Adrastus and Hypsipyle" must also be a youthful production prior to
1500, and in the direction of portraiture we have the Berlin "Young
Man," which, for reasons already given, must be placed quite early. It
is not possible to assign exact dates to any of these works, all that
can be said with any certainty is that they fall within the last decade
of the fifteenth century, and illustrate the rapid development of
Giorgione's art up to his twenty-fourth year.

A further stage in his evolution is reached in the Castelfranco
"Madonna," the first important undertaking of which we have some record.
Tradition connects the painting of this altar-piece with an event of the
year 1504, the death of the young Matteo Costanzo, whose family, so it
is said, commissioned Giorgione to paint a memorial altar-piece, and
decorate the family chapel at Castelfranco with frescoes. Certain it is
that the arms of the Costanzi appear in the picture, but the evidence
which connects the commission with the death of Matteo seems to rest
mainly on his alleged likeness to the S. Liberale in the picture, a
theory, we may remark, which is quite consistent with Matteo being still
alive. Considering the extraordinary rapidity of the artist's
development, it would be more natural to place the execution of this
work a year or two earlier than 1504, but, in any case, we may accept it
as typical of Giorgione's style in the first years of the century. The
"Judith" (at St. Petersburg), as we have already seen, probably
immediately precedes it, so that we get two masterpieces approximately

In the field of portraiture Giorgione must have made rapid strides from
the very first. Vasari states that he painted the portraits of the great
Consalvo Ferrante, and of one of his captains, on the occasion of their
visit to the Doge Agostino Barberigo. Now this event presumably took
place in 1500,[78] so that, at that early date, he seems already to have
been a portrait painter of repute. Confirmatory evidence of this is
furnished by the statement of Ridolfi, that Giorgione took the portrait
of Agostino Barberigo himself.[79] Now the Doge died in 1500, so that if
Giorgione really painted him, he could not have been more than
twenty-three years of age at the time, an extraordinarily early age to
have been honoured with so important a commission; this fact certainly
presupposes successes with other patrons, whose portraits Giorgione must
have taken during the years 1495-1500. I hope to be able to identify two
or three of these, but for the moment we may note that by 1500
Giorgione was a recognised master of portraiture. The only picture on
our list likely to date from the period 1500-1504 is the "Knight of
Malta," the "Young Man" (at Buda-Pesth) being later in execution.[80]

From 1504 on, the rapid rate of progress is more than fully maintained.
Only six years remain of the artist's short life, yet in that time he
rose to full power, and anticipated the splendid achievements of
Titian's maturity some forty years later. First in order, probably, come
the "Venus" (Dresden) and the "Concert" (Pitti), both showing
originality of conception and mastery of handling. The date of the
frescoes on the Fondaco de' Tedeschi is known to be 1507-8,[81] but, as
nothing remains but a few patches of colour in one spot high up over the
Grand Canal, we have no visible clue to guide us in our estimate of
their artistic worth. Vasari's description, and Zanetti's engraving of a
few fragments (done in 1760, when the frescoes were already in decay),
go to prove that Giorgione at this period studied the antique,
"commingling statuesque classicism and the flesh and blood of real

At this period it is most probable we must place the "Judgment of
Solomon" (at Kingston Lacy), possibly, as I have already pointed out,
the very work commissioned by the State for the audience chamber of the
Council, on which, as we know from documents, Giorgione was engaged in
1507 and 1508. It was never finished, and the altogether exceptional
character of the work places it outside the regular course of the
artist's development. It was an ambitious venture in an unwonted
direction, and is naturally marked and marred by unsatisfactory
features. Giorgione's real powers are shown by the "Pastoral Symphony"
(in the Louvre), and the "Portrait of the Young Man" (at Buda-Pesth),
productions dating from the later years 1508-10. The "Three Ages" (in
the Pitti) may also be included, and if Giorgione conceived and even
partly executed the "Storm calmed by S. Mark" (Venice Academy), this
also must be numbered among his last works.

Morelli states: "It was only in the last six years of his short life
(from about 1505-11) that Giorgione's power and greatness became fully
developed."[83] I think this is true in the sense that Giorgione was
ever steadily advancing towards a fuller and riper understanding of the
world, that his art was expanding into a magnificence which found
expression in larger forms and richer colour, that he was acquiring
greater freedom of touch, and more perfect command of the technical
resources of his art. But sufficient stress is not laid, I think, upon
the masterly achievement of the earlier times; the tendency is to refer
too much to later years, and not recognise sufficiently the prodigious
precocity before 1500. One is tempted at times to question the accuracy
of Vasari's statement that Giorgione died in his thirty-fourth year,
which throws his birth back only to 1477. Some modern writers disregard
this statement altogether, and place his birth "before 1477."[84] Be
this as it may, it does not alter the fact that by 1500 Giorgione had
already attained in portraiture to the highest honours, and in this
sphere, I believe, he won his earliest successes. My object in the
following chapter will be to endeavour to point out some of the very
portraits, as yet unidentified, which I am persuaded were produced by
Giorgione chiefly in these earlier years, and thus partly to fill some
of the lacunae we have found in tracing his artistic evolution.


[75] A list of these is given at p. 138.

[76] _Vide_ List of Works, pp. 124-137.

[77] The results of these archivistic researches are being published in
the _Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft_.

[78] For the evidence, see _Magazine of Art_, April 1893.

[79] Meravig, i. 126.

[80] Vasari saw Giorgione's portrait of the succeeding Doge Leonardo
Loredano (1501-1521).

[81] See Crowe and Cavalcaselle, ii. 141.

[82] Crowe and Cavalcaselle, _ibid_.

[83] ii. 213. We now know that he died in 1510.

[84] Crowe and Cavalcaselle, ii. 119. Bode: _Cicerone_.



Vasari, in his _Life of Titian_, in the course of a somewhat confused
account of the artist's earliest years, tells us how Titian, "having
seen the manner of Giorgione, early resolved to abandon that of Gian
Bellino, although well grounded therein. He now, therefore, devoted
himself to this purpose, and in a short time so closely imitated
Giorgione that his pictures were sometimes taken for those of that
master, as will be related below." And he goes on: "At the time when
Titian began to adopt the manner of Giorgione, being then not more than
eighteen, he took the portrait of a gentleman of the Barberigo family
who was his friend, and this was considered very beautiful, the
colouring being true and natural, and the hair so distinctly painted
that each one could be counted, as might also the stitches[85] in a
satin doublet, painted in the same work; in a word, it was so well and
carefully done, that it would have been taken for a picture by
Giorgione, if Titian had not written his name on the dark ground." Now
the statement that Titian began to imitate Giorgione at the age of
eighteen is inconsistent with Vasari's own words of a few paragraphs
previously: "About the year 1507, Giorgione da Castel Franco, not being
satisfied with that mode of proceeding (i.e. 'the dry, hard, laboured
manner of Gian Bellino, which Titian also acquired'), began to give to
his works an unwonted softness and relief, painting them in a very
beautiful manner.... Having seen the manner of Giorgione, Titian now
devoted himself to this purpose," etc. In 1507 Titian was thirty years
old,[86] not eighteen, so that both statements cannot be correct. Now it
is highly improbable that Titian had already discarded the manner of
Bellini as early as 1495, at the age of eighteen, and had so identified
himself with Giorgione that their work was indistinguishable.
Everything, on the contrary, points to Titian's evolution being anything
but rapid; in fact, so far as records go, there is no mention of his
name until he painted the façade of the Fondaco de' Tedeschi in company
with Giorgione in 1507. It is infinitely more probable that Vasari's
first statement is the more reliable--viz. that Titian began to adopt
Giorgione's manner about the year 1507, and it follows, therefore, that
the portrait of the gentleman of the Barberigo family, if by Titian,
dates from this time, and not 1495.

[Illustration: _Dixon photo. Collection of the Earl of Darnley, Cobham


Now there is a picture in the Earl of Darnley's Collection at Cobham
Hall which answers pretty closely to Vasari's description. It is a
supposed portrait of Ariosto by Titian, but it is as much unlike the
court poet of Ferrara as the portrait in the National Gallery (No. 636)
which, with equal absurdity, long passed for that of Ariosto, a name now
wisely removed from the label. This magnificent portrait at Cobham was
last exhibited at the Old Masters in 1895, and the suggestion was then
made that it might be the very picture mentioned by Vasari in the
passage quoted above.[87] I believe this ingenious suggestion is
correct, and that we have in the Cobham "Ariosto" the portrait of one of
the Barberigo family said to have been painted by Titian in the manner
of Giorgione. "Thoroughly Giorgionesque," says Mr. Claude Phillips, in
his _Life of Titian_, "is the soberly tinted yet sumptuous picture in
its general arrangement, as in its general tone, and in this respect it
is the fitting companion and the descendant of Giorgione's 'Antonio
Broccardo' at Buda-Pesth, of his 'Knight of Malta' at the Uffizi. Its
resemblance, moreover, is, as regards the general lines of the
composition, a very striking one to the celebrated Sciarra
'Violin-Player,' by Sebastiano del Piombo.... The handsome, manly head
has lost both subtlety and character through some too severe process of
cleaning, but Venetian art has hardly anything more magnificent to show
than the costume, with the quilted sleeve of steely, blue-grey satin,
which occupies so prominent a place in the picture." Its Giorgionesque
character is therefore recognised by this writer, as also by Dr. Georg
Gronau, in his recent _Life of Titian_ (p. 21), who significantly
remarks, "Its relation to the 'Portrait of a Young Man' by Giorgione, at
Berlin, is obvious."

It is a pity that both these discerning writers of the modern school
have not gone a little further and seen that the picture before them is
not only Giorgionesque, but by Giorgione himself. The mistake of
confusing Titian and Giorgione is as old as Vasari, who, _misled by the
signature_, naïvely remarks, "It would have been taken for a picture by
Giorgione if Titian had not written his name on the dark ground (in
ombra)." _Hinc illae lacrimae!_ Let us look into this question of
signatures, the ultimate and irrevocable proof in the minds of the
innocent that a picture must be genuine. Titian's methods of signing his
well-authenticated works varied at different stages of his career. The
earliest signature is always "Ticianus," and this is found on works
dating down to 1522 (the "S. Sebastian" at Brescia). The usual signature
of the later time is "Titianus," probably the earliest picture with it
being the Ancona altar-piece of 1520. "Tician" is found only twice. Now,
without necessarily condemning every signature which does not accord
with this practice, we must explain any apparent irregularity, such, for
instance, as the "Titianus F." on the Cobham Hall picture. This form of
signature points to the period after 1520, a date manifestly
inconsistent with the style of painting. But there is more than this to
arouse suspicion. The signature has been painted over another, or
rather, the F. (= fecit)[88] is placed over an older V, which can still
be traced. A second V appears further to the right. It looks as if
originally the balustrade only bore the double V, and that "Titianus F."
were added later. But it was there in Vasari's day (1544), so that we
arrive at the interesting conclusion that Titian's signature must have
been added between 1520 and 1544--that is, in his own lifetime. This
singular fact opens up a new chapter in the history of Titian's
relationship to Giorgione, and points to practices well calculated to
confuse historians of a later time, and enhance the pupil's reputation
at the expense of the deceased master. Not that Titian necessarily
appropriated Giorgione's work, and passed it off as his own, but we know
that on the latter's death Titian completed several of his unfinished
pictures, and in one instance, we are told, added a Cupid to Giorgione's
"Venus." It may be that this was the case with the "Ariosto," and that
Titian felt justified in adding his signature on the plea of something
he did to it in after years; but, explain this as we may, the important
point to recognise is that in all essential particulars the "Ariosto" is
the creation not of Titian, but of Giorgione. How is this to be proved?
It will be remembered that when discussing whether Giorgione or Titian
painted the Pitti "Concert," the "Giorgionesque" qualities of the work
were so obvious that it seemed going out of the way to introduce
Titian's name, as Morelli did, and ascribe the picture to him in a
Giorgionesque phase. It is just the same here. The conception is
typically Giorgione's own, the thoughtful, dreamy look, the turn of the
head, the refinement and distinction of this wonderful figure alike
proclaim him; whilst in the workmanship the quilted satin is exactly
paralleled by the painting of the dress in the Berlin and Buda-Pesth
portraits. Characteristic of Giorgione but not of Titian, is the oval of
the face, the construction of the head, the arrangement of the hair.
Titian, so far as I am aware, never introduces a parapet or ledge into
his portraits, Giorgione nearly always does so; and finally we have the
mysterious VV which is found on the Berlin portrait, and
(half-obliterated) on the Buda-Pesth "Young Man." In short, no one would
naturally think of Titian were it not for the misleading signature, and
I venture to hope competent judges will agree with me that the proofs
positive of Giorgione's authorship are of greater weight than a
signature which--for reasons given--is not above suspicion.[89]

Before I leave this wonderful portrait of a gentleman of the Barberigo
family (so says Vasari), a word as to its date is necessary. The
historian tells us it was painted by Titian at the age of eighteen.
Clearly some tradition existed which told of the youthfulness of the
painter, but may we assume that Giorgione was only eighteen at the time?
That would throw the date back to 1495. Is it possible he can have
painted this splendid head so early in his career? The freedom of
handling, and the mastery of technique certainly suggests a rather later
stage, but I am inclined to believe Giorgione was capable of this
accomplishment before 1500. The portrait follows the Berlin "Young Man,"
and may well take its place among the portraits which, as we have seen,
Giorgione must have painted during the last decade of the century prior
to receiving his commission to paint the Doge. And in this connection it
is of special interest to find the Doge was himself a Barberigo. May we
not conclude that the success of this very portrait was one of the
immediate causes which led to Giorgione obtaining so flattering a
commission from the head of the State?

I mentioned incidentally that four repetitions of the "Ariosto" exist,
all derived presumably from the Cobham original. We have a further
striking proof of the popularity of this style of portraiture in a
picture belonging to Mr. Benson, exhibited at the Venetian Exhibition,
New Gallery, 1894-5, where the painter, whoever he may be, has
apparently been inspired by Giorgione's original. The conception is
wholly Giorgionesque, but the hardness of contour and the comparative
lack of quality in the touch betrays another and an inferior hand.
Nevertheless the portrait is of great interest, for could we but imagine
it as fine in execution as in conception we should have an original
Giorgione portrait before us. The features are curiously like those of
the Barberigo gentleman.

       *       *       *       *       *

In his recently published _Life of Titian_, Dr. Gronau passes from the
consideration of the Cobham Hall picture immediately to that of the
"Portrait of a Lady," known as "La Schiavona," in the collection of
Signor Crespi in Milan. In his opinion these two works are intimately
related to one another, and of them he significantly writes thus: "The
influence of Giorgione upon Titian" (to whom he ascribes both portraits)
"is evident. The connection can be traced even in the details of the
treatment and technique. The separate touches of light on the
gold-striped head-dress which fastens back the lady's beautiful dark
hair, the variegated scarf thrown lightly round her waist, the folds of
the sleeves, the hand with the finger-tips laid on the parapet: all
these details might indicate the one master as well as the other."[90]

The transition from the Cobham Hall portrait to the "Lady" in the Crespi
Collection is, to my mind, also a natural and proper one. The painter of
the one is the painter of the other. Tradition is herein also perfectly
consistent, and tradition has in each case a plausible signature to
support it. The TITIANVS F. of the former portrait is paralleled by the
T.V.--i.e. Titianus Vecellio, or Titianus Veneziano of the latter.[91] I
have already dealt at some length with the question of the former
signature, which appears to have been added actually during Titian's
lifetime; in the present instance the letters appear almost, if not
quite, coeval with the rest of the painting, and were undoubtedly
intended for Titian's signature. The cases, therefore, are so far
parallel, and the question naturally arises, Did Titian really have any
hand in the painting of this portrait? Signor Venturi[92] strongly
denies it; to him the T.V. matters nothing, and he boldly proclaims
Licinio the author.

I confess the matter is not thus lightly to be disposed of; there is no
valid reason to doubt the antiquity of the inscription, which, on the
analogy of the Cobham Hall picture, may well have been added in
Titian's own lifetime, and for the same reason that I there
suggested--viz. that Titian had in some way or other a hand in the
completion, or may be the alteration, of his deceased master's work.[93]
For it is my certain conviction that the painter of the Crespi "Lady" is
none other than Giorgione himself.

Before, however, discussing the question of authorship, it is a matter
of some moment to be able to identify the lady represented. An old
tradition has it that this is Caterina Cornaro, and, in my judgment,
this is perfectly correct.[94] Fortunately, we possess several
well-authenticated likenesses of this celebrated daughter of the
Republic. She had been married to the King of Cyprus, and after his
death had relinquished her quasi-sovereign rights in favour of Venice.
She then returned home (in 1489) and retired to Asolo, near
Castelfranco, where she passed a quiet country life, enjoying the
society of the poets and artists of the day, and reputed for her
kindliness and geniality. Her likeness is to be seen in three
contemporary paintings:--

1. At Buda-Pesth, by Gentile Bellini, with inscription.

2. In the Venice Academy, also by Gentile Bellini, who introduces her
and her attendant ladies kneeling in the foreground, to the left, in his
well-known "Miracle of the True Cross," dated 1500.

3. In the Berlin Gallery, by Jacopo de' Barbari, where she appears
kneeling in a composition of the "Madonna and Child and Saints."

[Illustration: _From a print. Pourtalès Collection, Berlin_


Finally we see Caterina Cornaro in a bust in the Pourtalès Collection at
Berlin, here reproduced,[95] seen full face, as in the Crespi portrait.
I know not on what outside authority the identification rests in the
case of the bust, but it certainly appears to represent the same lady as
in the above-mentioned pictures, and is rightly accepted as such by
modern German critics.[96]

[Illustration: _Anderson photo. Crespi Collection, Milan_


To my eyes, we have the same lady in the Crespi portrait. Mr. Berenson,
unaware of the identity, thus describes her:[97] "Une grande dame
italienne est devant nous, éclatante de santé et de magnificence,
énergique, débordante, pleine d'une chaude sympathie, source de vie et
de joie pour tous ceux qui l'entourent, et cependant réfléchie,
pénétrante, un peu ironique bien qu'indulgente."

Could a better description be given to fit the character of Caterina
Cornaro, as she is known to us in history? How little likely, moreover,
that tradition should have dubbed this homely person the ex-Queen of
Cyprus had it not been the truth!

Now, if my contention is correct, chronology determines a further point.
Caterina died in 1510, so that this likeness of her (which is clearly
taken from life) must have been done in or before the first decade of
the sixteenth century.[98] This excludes Licinio and Schiavone (both of
whom have been suggested as the artist), for the latter was not even
born, and the former--whose earliest known picture is dated 1520--must
have been far too young in 1510 to have already achieved so splendid a
result. Palma is likewise excluded, so that we are driven to choose
between Titian and Giorgione, the only two Venetian artists capable of
such a masterpiece before 1510.

As to which of these two artists it is, opinions--so far as any have
been published--are divided. Yet Dr. Gronau, who claims it for Titian,
admits in the same breath that the hand is the same as that which
painted the Cobham Hall picture and the Pitti "Concert," a judgment in
which I fully concur. Dr. Bode[99] labels it "Art des Giorgione."
Finally, Mr. Berenson, with rare insight proclaimed the conception and
the spirit of the picture to be Giorgione's.[100] But he asserts that
the execution is not fine enough to be the master's own, and would rank
it--with the "Judith" at St. Petersburg--in the category of contemporary
copies after lost originals. This view is apparently based on the
dangerous maxim that where the execution of a picture is inferior to the
conception, the work is presumably a copy. But two points must be borne
in mind, the actual condition of the picture, and the character of the
artist who painted it. Mr. Berenson has himself pointed out
elsewhere[101] that Giorgione, "while always supreme in his conceptions,
did not live long enough to acquire a perfection of draughtsmanship and
chiaroscuro equally supreme, and that, consequently, there is not a
single universally accepted work of his which is absolutely free from
the reproaches of the academic pedant." Secondly, the surface of this
portrait has lost its original glow through cleaning, and has suffered
other damage, which actually debarred Crowe and Cavalcaselle (who saw
the picture in 1877) from pronouncing definitely upon the authorship.
The eyes and flesh, they say,[102] were daubed over, the hair was new,
the colour modern. A good deal of this "restoration" has since been
removed, but the present appearance of the panel bears witness to the
harsh treatment suffered years ago. Nevertheless, the original work is
before us, and not a copy of a lost original, and Mr. Berenson's
enthusiastic praise ought to be lavished on the actual picture as it
must have appeared in all its freshness and purity. "Je n'hésiterais
pas," he declares,[103] "à le proclamer le plus important des portraits
du maître, un chef-d'oeuvre ne le cédant à aucun portrait d'aucun pays
ou d'aucun temps."

And certainly Giorgione has created a masterpiece. The opulence of
Rubens and the dignity of Titian are most happily combined with a
delicacy and refinement such as Giorgione alone can impart. The intense
grasp of character here displayed, the exquisite _intimité_, places this
wonderful creation of his on the highest level of portraiture. There is
far less of that moody abstraction which awakens our interest in most of
his portraits, but much greater objective truth, arising from that
perfect sympathy between artist and sitter, which is of the first
importance in portrait-painting. History tells us of the friendly
encouragement the young Castelfrancan received at the hands of this
gracious lady, and he doubtless painted this likeness of her in her
country home at Asolo, near to Castelfranco, and we may well imagine
with what eagerness he acquitted himself of so flattering a commission.
Vasari tells us that he saw a portrait of Caterina, Queen of Cyprus,
painted by Giorgione from the life, in the possession of Messer Giovanni
Cornaro. I believe that picture to be the very one we are now
discussing.[104] The documents quoted by Signor Venturi[105] do not go
back beyond 1640, so that it is, of course, impossible to prove the
identity, but the expression "from the life" (as opposed to Titian's
posthumous portrait of her) applies admirably to our likeness. What a
contrast to the formal presentation of the queenly lady, crown and
jewels and all, that Gentile Bellini has left us in his portrait of her
now at Buda-Pesth!--and in that other picture of his where she is seen
kneeling in royal robes, with her train of court ladies, as though
attending a state function! How Giorgione has penetrated through all
outward show, and revealed the charm of manner, the delightful
_bonhomie_ of his royal patroness!

We are enabled, by a simple calculation of dates, to fix approximately
the period when this portrait was painted. Gentile Bellini's picture of
"The Miracle of the True Cross" is dated 1500--that is, when Caterina
Cornaro was forty-six years old (she was born in 1454). In Signor
Crespi's picture she appears, if anything, younger in appearance, so
that, at latest, Giorgione painted her portrait in 1500. Thus, again, we
arrive at the same conclusion, that the master distinguished himself
very early in his career in the field of portraiture, and the similarity
in style between this portrait and the Cobham Hall one is accounted for
on chronological grounds. All things considered, it is very probable
that this portrait was his earliest real success, and proved a passport
to the favourable notice of the fashionable society of Venice, leading
to the commission to paint the Doge, and the Gran Signori, who visited
the capital in the year 1500. That Giorgione was capable of such an
achievement before his twenty-fourth year constitutes, we may surely
admit, his strongest right to the title of Genius.[106]

The Barberigo gentleman and the Caterina Cornaro are comparatively
unfamiliar, owing to their seclusion in private galleries. Not so the
third portrait, which hangs in the National Gallery, and which, in my
opinion, should be included among Giorgione's authentic productions.
This is No. 636, "Portrait of a Poet," attributed to Palma Vecchio; and
the catalogue continues: "This portrait of an unknown personage was
formerly ascribed to Titian, and supposed to represent Ariosto; it has
long since been recognised as a fine work by Palma." I certainly do not
know by whom this portrait was first recognised as such, but as the
transformation was suddenly effected one day under the late Sir Frederic
Burton's _regime_, it is natural to suppose he initiated it. No one
to-day would be found, I suppose, to support the older view, and the
rechristening certainly received the approval of Morelli;[107] modern
critics apparently acquiesce without demur, so that it requires no
little courage to dissent from so unanimous an opinion. I confess,
therefore, it was no small satisfaction to me to find the question had
been raised by an independent inquirer, Mr. Dickes, who published in the
_Magazine of Art_, 1893, the results of his investigations, the
conclusion at which he arrived being that this is the portrait of
Prospero Colonna, Liberator of Italy, painted by Giorgione in the year

Briefly stated, the argument is as follows:--

I. (1) The person represented closely resembles
       Prospero Colonna (1464-1523), whose authentic
       likeness is to be seen--

       (_a_) In an engraving in Pompilio Totti's
            "Ritratti et Elogie di Capitani illustri.
            Rome, 1635."

       (_b_) In a bust in the Colonna Gallery, Rome.

       (_c_) In an engraving in the "Columnensium
            Procerum" of the Abbas Domenicus
            de Santis. Rome, 1675.

(All three are reproduced in the article in question.)

[Illustration: _Hanfstängl photo. National Gallery, London_.


    (2) The description of Prospero Colonna, given
        by Pompilio Totti (in the above book)
        tallies with our portrait.

    (3) The accessories in the picture confirm the
        identity--e.g. the St Andrew's Cross, or
        saltire, is on the Colonna family banner;
        the bay, emblem of victory, is naturally
        associated with a great captain; the rosary
        may refer to the fact of Prospero's residence
        as lay brother in the monastery of the
        Olivetani, near Fondi, which was rebuilt
        by him in 1500.

II. Admitting the identity of person, chronology
        determines the probable date of the execution
        of this portrait, for Prospero visited
        Venice presumably in the train of Consalvo
        Ferrante in 1500. He was then thirty-six
        years of age.

III. Assuming this date to be correct, no other Venetian
        artist but Giorgione was capable of producing
        so fine and admittedly "Giorgionesque"
        a portrait at so early a date.

IV. Internal evidence points to Giorgione's authorship.

It will be seen that the logic employed is identical with that by which
I have tried to establish the identity of Signor Crespi's picture. In
the present case, I should like to insist on the fourth consideration
rather than on the other points, iconographical or chronological, and
see how far our portrait bears on its face the impress of Giorgione's
own spirit.

The conception, to begin with, is characteristic of him--the pensive
charm, the feeling of reserve, the touch of fanciful imagination in the
decorative accessories, but, above all, the extreme refinement. All this
very naturally fits the portrait of a poet, and at a time when it was
customary to label every portrait with a celebrated name, what more
appropriate than Ariosto, the court poet of Ferrara? But this dreamy
reserve, this intensity of suppressed feeling is characteristic of all
Giorgione's male portraits, and is nowhere more splendidly expressed
than in this lovely figure. Where can the like be found in Palma, or
even Titian? Titian is more virile in his conception, less lyrical, less
fanciful, Palma infinitely less subtle in characterisation. Both are
below the level of Giorgione in refinement; neither ever made of a
portrait such a thing of sheer beauty as this. If this be Palma's work,
it stands alone, not only far surpassing his usual productions in
quality, but revealing him in a wholly new phase; it is a difference not
of degree, but of kind.

[Illustration: _Anderson photo. Querini-Stampalia Collection, Venice_

PORTRAIT OF A MAN (Unfinished)]

Positive proofs of Giorgione's hand are found in the way the hair is
rendered--that lovely dark auburn hair so often seen in his work,--in
the radiant oval of the face, contrasting so finely with the shadows,
which are treated exactly as in the Cobham picture, only that here the
chiaroscuro is more masterly, in the delicate modelling of the features,
the pose of the head, and in the superb colour of the whole. In short,
there is not a stroke that does not reveal the great master, and no
other, and it is incredible that modern criticism has not long ago
united in recognising Giorgione's handiwork.[10

The date suggested--1500--is also consistent with our own deductions as
to Giorgione's rapid development, and the distinguished character of his
sitter--if it be Prospero Colonna--is quite in keeping with the vogue
the artist was then enjoying, for it was in this very year, it will be
remembered, that he painted the Doge Agostino Barberigo.

I therefore consider that Mr. Dickes' brilliant conjectures have much to
support them, and, so far as the authorship is concerned, I
unhesitatingly accept the view, which he was the first to express, that
Giorgione, and no other, is the painter. Our National Collection
therefore boasts, in my opinion, a masterpiece of his portraiture.

If it were not that Morelli, Mr. Berenson and others have recognised in
the "Portrait of a Gentleman," in the Querini-Stampalia Gallery in
Venice, the same hand as in the National Gallery picture, one might well
hesitate to claim it for Giorgione, so repainted is its present
condition. I make bold, however, to include it in my list, and the more
readily as Signor Venturi definitely assigns it to Giorgione himself,
whose name, moreover, it has always borne. This unfinished portrait is,
despite its repaint, extraordinarily attractive, the rich browns and
reds forming a colour-scheme of great beauty. It cannot compare,
however, in quality with our National Gallery highly-finished example,
to which it is also inferior in beauty of conception. These two
portraits illustrate the variableness of the painter; both were probably
done about the same time--the one seemingly _con amore_, the other left
unfinished, as though the artist or his sitter were dissatisfied.
Certainly the cause could not have been Giorgione's death, for the style
is obviously early, probably prior to 1500.

The view expressed by Morelli[109] that this may be a portrait of one of
the Querini family, who were Palma's patrons, has nothing tangible to
support it, once Palma's authorship is contested. But the unimaginative
Palma was surely incapable of such things as this and the National
Gallery portrait!

[Illustration: Collection of the Honourable Mrs. Meynell-Ingram, Temple
Newsam, Leeds


England boasts, I believe, yet another magnificent original Giorgione
portrait, and one that is probably totally unfamiliar to connoisseurs.
This is the "Portrait of an Unknown Man," in the possession of the Hon.
Mrs Meynell-Ingram at Temple Newsam in Yorkshire. A small and
ill-executed print of it was published in the _Magazine of Art_, April
1893, where it was attributed to Titian. Its Giorgionesque character is
apparent at first glance, and I venture to hope that all those who may
be fortunate enough to study the original, as I have done, will
recognise the touch of the great master himself. Its intense expression,
its pathos, the distant look tinged with melancholy, remind us at once
of the Buda-Pesth, the Borghese, and the (late) Casa Loschi pictures;
its modelling vividly recalls the central figure of the Pitti "Concert,"
the painting of sleeve and gloves is like that in the National Gallery
and Querini-Stampalia portraits just discussed. The general pose is most
like that of the Borghese "Lady." The parapet, the wavy hair, the
high cranium are all so many outward and visible signs of Giorgione's
spirit, whilst none but he could have created such magnificent contrasts
of colour, such effects of light and shade. This is indeed Giorgione,
the great master, the magician who holds us all fascinated by his
wondrous spell.

[Illustration: _Hanfstängl photo. Vienna Gallery_


Last on the list of portraits which I am claiming as Giorgione's, and
probably latest in date of execution, comes the splendid so-called
"Physician Parma," in the Vienna Gallery. Crowe and Cavalcaselle thus
describe it: "This masterly portrait is one of the noblest creations of
its kind, finished with a delicacy quite surprising, and modelled with
the finest insight into the modulations of the human flesh....
Notwithstanding, the touch and the treatment are utterly unlike
Titian's, having none of his well-known freedom and none of his
technical peculiarities. Yet if asked to name the artist capable of
painting such a likeness, one is still at a loss. It is considered to be
identical with the portrait mentioned by Ridolfi as that of 'Parma' in
the collection of B. della Nave (Merav., i. 220); but this is not
proved, nor is there any direct testimony to show that it is by Titian
at all."[110]

Herr Wickhoff[111] goes a step further. He says: "Un autre portrait qui
porte le nom de Titien est également l'une des oeuvres les plus
remarquables du Musée. On prétend qu'il représente le 'Médecin du
Titien, Parma'; mais c'est là une pure invention, imaginée par un ancien
directeur du Musée, M. Rosa, et admise de confiance par ses successeurs.
M. Rosa avait été amené à la concevoir par la lecture d'un passage de
Ridolfi. Le costume suffirait à lui seul, pourtant, pour la démentir:
c'est le costume officiel d'un sénateur vénitien, et qui par suite ne
saurait avoir été porté par un médecin. Le tableau est incontestablement
de la même main que les deux 'Concerts' du Palais Pitti et du Louvre,
qui portent tous deux le nom de Giorgione. Si l'on attribue ces deux
tableaux au Giorgione, c'est à lui aussi qu'il faut attribuer le
portrait de Vienne; si, comme feu Morelli, on attribue le tableau du
Palais Pitti au Titien, il faut approuver l'attribution actuelle de
notre portrait au même maître." I am glad that Herr Wickhoff recognises
the same hand in all three works. I am sorry that in his opinion this
should be Domenico Campagnola's. I have already referred to this opinion
when discussing the Louvre "Concert," and must again emphatically
dissent from this view. Campagnola, as I know him in his pictures and
frescoes at Padua,--the only authenticated examples by which to judge
him,[112]--was utterly inadequate to such tasks. The grandeur and
dignity of the Vienna portrait is worthy of Titian, whose virility
Giorgione more nearly approaches here than anywhere else. But I agree
with the verdict of Crowe and Cavalcaselle that his is not the hand that
painted it, and believe that the author of the Temple Newsam "Man" also
produced this portrait, probably a few years later, at the close of his


[85] Or "points" (_punte_). The translation is that used by Blashfield
and Hopkins, vol. iv. 260.

[86] Assuming he was born in 1477, which is by no means certain.

[87] Dr. Richter in the _Art Journal_, 1895, p. 90. Mr. Claude Phillips,
in his _Earlier Work of Titian_, p. 58, note, objects that Vasari's
"giubone di raso inargentato" is not the superbly luminous steel-grey
sleeve of this "Ariosto," but surely a vest of satin embroidered with
silver. I think we need not examine Vasari's casual descriptions quite
so closely; "a doublet of silvered satin wherein the stitches could be
counted" is fairly accurate. "Quilted sleeves" would no doubt be the
tailor's term.

[88] It is not quite clear whether the single letter is F or T.

[89] A curious fact, which corroborates my view, is that the four old
copies which exist are all ascribed to Giorgione (at Vicenza, Brescia,
and two lately in English collections). See Crowe and Cavalcaselle, p.

[90] Gronau: _Tizian_, p. 21.

[91] See, however, note on p. 133.

[92] _La Galleria Crespi_.

[93] The documents quoted by Signor Venturi show the signature was there
in 1640.

[94] When in the Martinengo Gallery at Brescia (1640) it bore this name.
See Venturi, _op. cit_., and Crowe and Cavalcaselle, _Titian_, ii. 58.

[95] From _Das Museum_, No. 79. "_Unbekannter Meister um_ 1500. _Bildnis
der Caterina Cornaro_." I am informed the original is now in the
possession of the German Ambassador at The Hague, and that a plaster
cast is at Berlin.

[96] Dr. Bode _(Jahrbuch_, 1883, p. 144) says that Count Pourtalès
acquired this bust at Asolo.

[97] _Gazette des Beaux Arts_, 1897, pp. 278-9. Since (1901)
republished in his _Study and Criticism of Italian Art_, vol. i. p. 85.

[98] Titian's posthumous portrait of Caterina is lost. The best known
copy is in the Uffizi. Crowe and Cavalcaselle long ago pointed out the
absurdity of regarding this fancy portrait as a true likeness of the
long deceased queen. It bears no resemblance whatever to the Buda-Pesth
portrait, which is the latest of the group.

[99] _Cicerone_, sixth edition.

[100] _Gazette des Beaux Arts_, 1897, pp. 278-9.

[101] _Venetian Painting at the New Gallery_, 1895, p. 41.

[102] _Titian_, ii. 58.

[103] _Gazette des Beaux Arts, loc cit_.

[104] _Life of Giorgione_. The letters T.V. either were added after
1544, or Vasari did not interpret them as Titian's signature.

[105] _La Galleria Crespi, op. cit_.

[106] The importance of this portrait in the history of the Renaissance
is discussed, _postea_, p. 113.

[107] ii. 19.

[108] This picture was transferred in 1857 from panel to canvas, but is
otherwise in fine condition.

[109] Morelli, ii. 19, note.

[110] Crowe and Cavalcaselle: _Titian_, p. 425.

[111] _Gazette des Beaux Arts_, 1893, p. 135.

[112] It is customary to cite the Prague picture of 1525 as his work.
The clumsy signature CAM was probably intended for Campi, the real
author, and its genuineness is not above suspicion. It is a curious
_quid pro quo_.



I have now pointed out six portraits which, in my opinion, should be
included in the roll of genuine Giorgiones. No doubt others will, in
time, be identified, but I leave this fascinating quest to pass to the
consideration of other paintings illustrating a different phase of the
master's art.[113]

We know that the romantic vein in Giorgione was particularly strong,
that he naturally delighted in producing fanciful pictures where his
poetic imagination could find full play; we have seen how the classic
myth and the mediaeval romance afforded opportunities for him to indulge
his fancy, and we have found him adapting themes derived from these
sources to the decoration of _cassoni_, or marriage chests. Another
typical example of this practice is afforded by his "Orpheus and
Eurydice," in the gallery at Bergamo, a splendid little panel, probably,
like the "Apollo and Daphne" in the Seminario at Venice, intended as a
decorative piece of applied art. Although bearing Giorgione's name by
tradition, modern critics have passed it by presumably on the ground
that "it is not good enough,"--that fatal argument which has thrown dust
in the eyes of the learned. As if the artist would naturally expend as
much care on a trifle of this kind as on the Castelfranco altar-piece,
or the Dresden "Venus"! Yet what greater beauty of conception, what more
poetic fancy is there in the "Apollo and Daphne" (which is generally
accepted as genuine) than in this little "Orpheus and Eurydice"? Nay,
the execution, which is the point contested, appears to me every whit as
brilliant, and in preservation the latter piece has the advantage. Not a
touch but what can be paralleled in a dozen other works--the feathery
trees against the luminous sky, the glow of the horizon, the splendid
effects of light and shadow, the impressive grandeur of the wild
scenery, the small figures in mid-distance, even the cast of drapery and
shape of limbs are repeated elsewhere. Let anyone contrast the delicacy
and the glow of this little panel with several similar productions of
the Venetian school hanging in the same gallery, and the gulf that
separates Giorgione from his imitators will, I think, be apparent.

[Illustration: _Taramelli photo. Bergamo Gallery_ ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE]

In the same category must be ranked two very small panels in the Gallery
at Padua (Nos. 42 and 43), attributed with a query to Giorgione. These
are apparently fragments of some decorative series, of which the other
parts are missing. The one represents "Leda and the Swan," the other a
mythological subject, where a woman is seated holding a child, and a
man, also seated, holds flowers. The latter recalls one of the figures
in the National Gallery "Epiphany." The charm of these fragments lies in
the exquisite landscapes, which, in minuteness of finish and loving
care, Giorgione has nowhere surpassed. The gallery at Padua is thus, in
my opinion, the possessor of four genuine examples of Giorgione's skill
as a decorator, for we have already mentioned the larger _cassone_
pieces[114] (Nos. 416 and 417).

Of greater importance is the "Unknown Subject," in the National Gallery
(No. 1173), a picture which, like so many others, has recently been
taken from Giorgione, its author, and vaguely put down to his "School."
But it is time to protest against such needless depreciation!

In spite of abrasion, in spite of the loss of glow, in spite of much
that disfigures, nay disguises, the master's own touch, I feel confident
that Giorgione and no other produced this beautiful picture.[115] Surely
if this be only school work, we are vainly seeking a mythical master, an
ideal who never could have existed. What more dainty figures, what more
delicate hues, what more exquisite feeling could one look for than is
here to be found? True, the landscape has been renovated, true, the
Giorgionesque depth and richness is gone, the mellow glow of the
"Epiphany," which hangs just below, is sadly wanting, but who can deny
the charm of the picturesque scenery, which vividly recalls the
landscape backgrounds elsewhere in the master's own work, who can fail
to admire the natural and unstudied grouping of the figures, the
artlessness of the whole, the loving simplicity with which the painter
has done his work? All is spontaneous; the spirit is not that of a
laborious imitator, painfully seeking "effects" from another's
inspiration; sincerity and naïveté are too apparent for this to be the
work of any but a quite young artist, and one whose style is so
thoroughly "Giorgionesque" as to be none other than the young Giorgione
himself. In my opinion this is one of his earliest essays into the
region of romance, painted probably before his twenty-first year,
betraying, like the little legendary pictures in the Uffizi, a strong
affinity with Carpaccio.[116]

[Illustration: _Hanfstängl photo. Na. nal Gallery, London_


As to the subject many conjectures have been made: Aristotle surrounded
by emblems illustrating the objects with which his philosophy was
concerned, an initiation into some mystic rite, the poet musing in
sadness on the mysteries of life, the philosopher imparting wisdom to
the young, etc. etc. I believe Giorgione is simply giving us a poetical
rendering of "The Golden Age," where, like Plato's philosopher-king, the
seer all-wise and all-powerful holds sway, before whom the arts and
sciences do homage; in this earthly paradise even strange animals live
in happy harmony, and all is peace. Such a theme would well have suited
Giorgione's temperament, and Ridolfi actually tells us that this very
subject was taken by Giorgione from the pages of Ovid, and adapted by
him to his own ends.[117] But whether this represents "The Golden Age,"
or some other allegory or classic story, the picture is completely
characteristic of all that is most individual in Giorgione, and I
earnestly hope the slur now cast upon its character by the misleading
label will be speedily removed.[118] For the public believes more in the
labels it reads, than the pictures it sees.

Finally, in the "Venus disarming Cupid," of the Wallace collection, we
have, in my opinion, the wreck of a once splendid Giorgione. In the
recent re-arrangement of the Gallery, this picture, which used to hang
in an upstairs room, and was practically unknown, has been hung
prominently on the line, so that its beauties, and, alas! its defects,
can be plainly seen. The outlines are often distorted and blurred, the
Cupid has become monstrous, the delicacy of the whole effaced by
ill-usage and neglect. Yet the splendour of colour, the cast of drapery,
the flow of line, proclaims the great master himself. There is no room,
moreover, for such a mythical compromise as that which is proposed by
the catalogue, "It stands midway in style between Giorgione and Titian
in his Giorgionesque phase." No better instance could be adduced of the
fallacy of perfection implied in the minds of most critics at the
mention of Giorgione's name; yet if we accept the Louvre "Concert," if
we accept the Hermitage "Judith," why dispute Giorgione's claim on the
ground of "weakness of construction"? This "Venus and Cupid" is vastly
inferior in quality to the Dresden "Venus,"--let us frankly admit
it,--but it is none the less characteristic of the artist, who must not
be judged by the standard of his exceptional creations, but by that of
his normal productions.[119]

[Illustration: _Hanfstängl photo. National Gallery, London_ VENUS AND

Just such another instance of average merit is afforded by the "Venus
and Adonis" of the National Gallery (No. 1123), from which, had not an
artificial standard of excellence been falsely raised, Giorgione's name
would never have been removed. I am happily not the first to call
attention to the propriety of the old attribution, for Sir Edward
Poynter claims that the same hand that produced the Louvre "Concert" is
also responsible for the "Venus and Adonis."[120] I fully share this
opinion. The figures, with their compactly built and rounded limbs, are
such as Giorgione loved to model, the sweep of draperies and the
splendid line indicate a consummate master, the idyllic landscape
framing episodes from the life of Adonis is just such as we see in the
Louvre picture and elsewhere, the glow and splendour of the whole reveal
a master of tone and colouring. Some good judges would give the work to
the young Titian, but it appears too intimately "Giorgionesque" to be
his, although I admit the extreme difficulty in drawing the line of
division. Passages in the "Sacred and Profane Love" of the Borghese
Gallery are curiously recalled, but the National Gallery picture is
clearly the work of a mature and experienced hand, and not of any young
artist. In my opinion it dates from about 1508, and illustrates the
later phase of Giorgione's art as admirably as do the "Epiphany" (No.
1160) and the "Golden Age" (No. 1173) his earliest style. Between these
extremes fall the "Portrait" (No. 636), and the "S. Liberale" (No. 269),
the National Gallery thus affording unrivalled opportunity for studying
the varying phases of the great Venetian master at different stages of
his career.

       *       *       *       *       *

We may now pass from the realm of "fancy" subjects to that of sacred
art--that is, to the consideration of the "Madonnas," "Holy Families,"
and "Santa Conversazione" pictures, other than those already described.
The Beaumont "Adoration of the Shepherds," with its variant at Vienna,
the National Gallery "Epiphany," the Madrid "Madonna with S. Anthony and
S. Roch," and the Castelfranco altar-piece are the only instances so far
of Giorgione's sacred art, yet Vasari tells us that the master "in his
youth painted very many beautiful pictures of the Virgin."

This statement is on the face of it likely enough, for although the
young Castelfrancan early showed his independence of tradition and his
preference for the more modern phases of Bellini's art, it is extremely
probable he was also called upon to paint some smaller devotional
pieces, such, for instance, as "The Christ bearing the Cross," lately in
the Casa Loschi at Vicenza.[121] It is noteworthy, all the same, that
scarcely any "Madonna" picture exists to which his name still attaches,
and only one "Holy Family," so far as I am aware, is credibly reputed to
be his work. This is Mr. Benson's little picture, in all respects a
worthy companion to the Beaumont and National Gallery examples. There is
even a purer ring about this lovely little "Holy Family," a child-like
sincerity and a simplicity which is very touching, while for sheer
beauty of colour it is more enjoyable than either of the others. It may
not have the depth of tone and mastery of chiaroscuro which make the
Beaumont "Adoration" so subtly attractive, but in tenderness of feeling
and daintiness of treatment it is not surpassed by any other of
Giorgione's works. In its obvious defects, too, it is as thoroughly
characteristic; it is needless to repeat here what I said when
discussing the Beaumont and Vienna "Adoration"; the reader who compares
the reproductions will readily see the same features in both works. Mr.
Benson's little picture has this additional interest, that more than
either of its companion pieces it points forward to the Castelfranco
"Madonna" in the bold sweep of the draperies, the play of light on
horizontal surfaces, and the exquisite gaiety of its colour.

[Illustration: _Hanfstängl photo. Vienna Gallery_ THE "GIPSY" MADONNA]

In claiming this picture for Giorgione I am claiming nothing new, for
his name, in spite of modern critics, has here persistently survived.
Not so with a group of three Madonnas, one of which has for at least two
centuries borne Titian's name, another which passes also for a work of
the same painter, whilst the third was claimed by Crowe and
Cavalcaselle again for Titian, partly on the analogy of the
first-mentioned one.[122] The first is the so-called "Gipsy Madonna" in
the Vienna Gallery, the second is a "Madonna" in the Bergamo Gallery,
and the third is a "Madonna" again in Mr. Benson's collection.

I am happily not the first to identify the "Gipsy Madonna" as
Giorgione's work, for it requires no little courage to tilt at what has
been unquestioningly accepted as "the earliest known Madonna of Titian."
I am indebted, therefore, to Signor Venturi for the lead,[123] although
I have the satisfaction of feeling that independent study of my own had
already brought me to the same conclusion.

Of course, all modern writers have recognised the "Giorgionesque"
elements in this supposed Titian. "In the depth, strength, and richness
of the colour-chord, in the atmospheric spaciousness and charm of the
landscape background, in the breadth of the draperies, it is already,"
says Mr. Claude Phillips,[124] "Giorgionesque." Yet, he goes on, the
Child is unlike Giorgione's type in the Castelfranco and Madrid
pictures, and the Virgin has a less spiritualised nature than
Giorgione's Madonnas in the same two pictures. On the other hand, Dr.
Gronau, Titian's latest biographer, declares[125] that the thoughtful
expression ("der tief empfundene Ausdruck") of the Madonna is
essentially Giorgionesque. Morelli, with peculiar insight, protested
against its being considered a very _early_ work of Titian, basing his
protest on the advanced nature of the landscape, which, he says,[126]
"must have been painted six or eight years later than the end of the
fifteenth century." But even he fell into line with Crowe and
Cavalcaselle in ascribing the picture to Titian, failing to see that all
difficulties of chronology and discrepancies of judgment between himself
and the older historians could be reconciled on the hypothesis of
Giorgione's authorship. For Giorgione, as Morelli rightly saw, developed
far more rapidly than Titian, so that a Titian landscape of, say, 1506-8
(if any such exist!) would correspond with one by Giorgione of, say,
1500. I agree with Crowe and Cavalcaselle and those writers who date
back the "Gipsy Madonna" to the end of the fifteenth century, but I must
emphatically support Signor Venturi in his claim that Giorgione is the

Before, however, looking at internal evidence to prove this contention,
we may note that another example of the same composition exists in the
Gallery of Rovigo, identical save for a cartellino on which is inscribed
TITIANVS. To Crowe and Cavalcaselle this was evidence to confirm
Titian's claim to be the painter of what they considered the original
work--viz. the Vienna picture, of which the Rovigo example was, in their
opinion, a later copy. A careful examination, however, of the latter
picture has convinced me that they were curiously right and curiously
wrong. That the Rovigo work is posterior to the Vienna one is, I think,
patent to anyone conversant with Venetian painting, but why should the
one bear Titian's name on an apparently authentic cartellino, and not
the other? The simple and straightforward explanation appears the
best--viz. that the Rovigo picture is actually by Titian, who has taken
the Vienna picture (which I attribute to Giorgione) as his model and
directly repeated it. The qualities of the work are admirable, and
worthy of Titian, and I venture to think this "Madonna" would long ago
have taken its rightful place among the pictures of the master had it
not hung in a remote provincial gallery little visited by travellers,
and in such a dark corner as to escape detection. The form TITIANVS
points to a period after 1520,[127] when Giorgione had been some years
dead, so that it was not unnatural that in after times the credit of
invention rested with the author of the signed picture, and that his
name came gradually to be attached also to the earlier example. The
engraving of Meyssen (_circa_ 1640) thus bears Titian's name, and both
engraving and the repetition at Rovigo are now adduced as evidence of
Titian's authorship of the Vienna "Gipsy Madonna."

But is there any proof that Titian ever copied or repeated any other
work of Giorgione? There is, fortunately, one great and acknowledged
precedent, the "Venus" in the Tribune of the Uffizi, which is _directly_
taken from Giorgione's Dresden "Venus," The accessories, it is true, are
different, but the nude figures are line for line identical.[128] Other
painters, Palma, Cariarli, and Titian, elsewhere, derived inspiration
from Giorgione's prototype, but Titian actually repeats the very figure
in this "Venus"; so that there is nothing improbable in my contention
that Titian also repeated Giorgione's "Gipsy Madonna," adding his
signature thereto, to the confusion and confounding of later

[Illustration: _Dixon photo. Collection of Mr. R.H. Benson, London_


It is worthy of note that not a single "Madonna and Child" by Titian
exists, except the little picture in Mr. Mond's collection, painted
quite in the artist's old age. Titian invariably paints "Madonna and
Saints," or a "Holy Family," so that the three Madonna pictures I am
claiming for Giorgione are marked off by this peculiarity from the bulk
of Titian's work. This in itself is not enough to disqualify Titian, but
it is a factor in that cumulative proof by which I hope Giorgione's
claim may be sustained. The marble parapet again is a feature in
Giorgione's work, but not in Titian's. But the most convincing evidence
to those who know the master lies in the composition, which forms an
almost equilateral triangle, revealing Giorgione's supreme sense of
beauty in line. The splendid curves made by the drapery, the pose of the
Child, so as to obtain the same unbroken sweep of line, reveals the
painter of the Dresden "Venus." The painting of the Child's hand over
the Madonna's is precisely as in the Madrid picture, where, moreover,
the pose of the Child is singularly alike. The folds of drapery on the
sleeve recur in the same picture, the landscape with the small figure
seated beneath the tree is such as can be found in any Giorgione
background. The oval of the face and the delicacy of the features are
thoroughly characteristic, as is the spirit of calm reverie and tender
simplicity which Giorgione has breathed into his figures.

The second and third Madonna pictures--viz. the one at Bergamo, and its
counterpart in Mr. Benson's collection--appear to be somewhat later in
date of execution, but reveal many points in common with the "Gipsy
Madonna." The beauty of line is here equally conspicuous; the way the
drapery is carried out beyond the elbow so as to form one long unbroken
curve, the triangular composition, the marble parapet, are so many
proofs of Giorgione's hand. Moreover, we find in Mr. Benson's picture
the characteristic tree-trunks, so suggestive of solemn grandeur,[129]
and the striped scarf,[130] so cunningly disposed to give more flowing
line and break the stiffness of contour.

The Bergamo picture closely resembles Mr. Benson's "Madonna," from
which, indeed, it varies chiefly in the pose of the Child (whose left
leg here sticks straight out), whilst the landscape is seen on the left
side, and there are no tree-trunks. I cannot find that any writer has
made allusion to this little gem, which hangs high up on the end wall of
the Lochis section of the gallery (No. 232); I hope others will examine
this new-found work at a less inconvenient height, as I have done, and
that their opinion will coincide with mine that the same hand painted
the Benson "Madonna," and that that hand is Giorgione's.

Before quitting the subject of the "Madonna and Child," another example
may be alluded to, about which it would be unwise to express any decided
opinion founded only on a study of the photograph. This is a picture at
St. Petersburg, to which Mr. Claude Phillips first directed
attention,[131] stating his then belief that it might be a genuine
Giorgione. After a recent visit to St. Petersburg, however, he has seen
fit to register it as a probable copy after a lost original by the
master, on the ground that "it is not fine enough in execution."[132]
This, as I have often pointed out, is a dangerous test to apply in
Giorgione's case, and so the authenticity of this "Madonna" may still be
left an open question.

Finally, in the category of Sacred Art come two well-known pictures,
both in public galleries, and both accredited to Giorgione. The first is
the "Christ and the Adulteress" of the Glasgow Gallery, the second the
"Madonna and Saints" of the Louvre. Many diverse opinions are held about
the Glasgow picture; some ascribe it to Cariani, others to Campagnola.
It is asserted by some that the same hand painted the Kingston Lacy
"Judgment of Solomon," but that it is not the hand of Giorgione, and
finally--to come to the view which I believe is the correct one--Dr.
Bode and Sir Walter Armstrong[133] both believe that Giorgione is the

[Illustration: _Hanfstängl photo. Glasgow Gallery_ THE ADULTERESS

The whole difficulty, as it seems to me, arises from the deep-rooted
misapprehension in the minds of most critics of the character of
Giorgione's art. In their eyes, he is something so perfect as to be
incapable of producing anything short of the ideal. He could never have
drawn so badly, he never could have composed so awkwardly, he never
could have been so inexpressive!--such is the usual criticism. I have
elsewhere insisted upon the unevenness which invariably characterises
the productions of men who are gifted with a strong artistic
temperament, and in Giorgione's case, as I believe, this is particularly
true. The Glasgow picture is but one instance of many where, if
correctness of drawing, perfection of composition, and inevitableness of
expression are taken as final tests, the verdict must go against the
painter. He either failed in these cases to come up to the standard
reached elsewhere, or he is not the painter. Modern negative criticism
generally adopts the latter solution, with the result that not a score
of pictures pass muster, and the virtues of these chosen few are so
extolled as to make it all but impossible to see the reverse of the
medal. But those who accept the "Judith" at St. Petersburg, the Louvre
"Concert," the Beaumont "Adoration of the Shepherds" (to name only three
examples where the drawing is strange), cannot consistently object to
admit the Glasgow "Christ and the Adulteress" into the fold. Nay, if
gorgeousness of colour, splendour of glow, mastery of chiaroscuro, and
brilliancy of technique are qualities which go to make up great
painting, then the Glasgow picture must take high rank, even in a school
where such qualities found their grandest expression.

[Illustration: _The Louvre, Paris_


Comparisons of detail may be noted, such as the resemblance in posture
and type of the Accuser with the S. Roch of the Madrid picture, the
figure of the Adulteress with that of the False Mother in the Kingston
Lacy picture, the pointing forefingers, the typical landscape, the cast
of the draperies, details which the reader can find often repeated
elsewhere. But it is in the treatment of the subject that the most
characteristic features are revealed. The artist was required--we know
not why--to paint this dramatic scene; he had to produce a "set piece,"
where action and graphic representation was urgently needed. How little
to his taste! How uncongenial the task! The case is exactly paralleled
by the "Judgment of Solomon," the only other dramatic episode Giorgione
appears to have attempted, and the result in each case is the same--no
real dramatic unity, but an accidental arrangement of the figures, with
rhetorical action. The want of repose in the Christ offends, the
stageyness of the whole repels. How different when Giorgione worked _con
amore_! For it seems this composition gave him much trouble. Of this we
have a most interesting proof in an almost contemporary Venetian version
of the same subject, where the scheme has been recast. This picture
belongs to Sir Charles Turner, in London, and, so far as
intelligibleness of composition goes, may be said to be an improvement
on the Glasgow version. It is highly probable that this painting derives
from some alternative drawing for the original picture. That the Glasgow
version acquired some celebrity we have further proof in an almost exact
copy (with one more figure added on the right), which hangs in the
Bergamo Gallery under Cariani's name, a painting which, in all respects,
is utterly inferior to the original.[134]

The "Christ and the Adulteress," then, becomes for us a revelation of
the painter's nature, of his methods and aims; but, with all its
technical excellences, shall we not also frankly recognise the
limitations of his art?[135]

The "Madonna and Saints" of the Louvre, which persistently bears
Giorgione's name, in spite of modern negative criticism, is marked by a
lurid splendour of colour and a certain rough grandeur of expression,
well calculated to jar with any preconceived notion of Giorgionesque
sobriety or reserve. Yet here, if anywhere, we get that _fuoco
Giorgionesco_ of which Vasari speaks, that intensity of feeling,
rendered with a vivacity and power to which the artist could only have
attained in his latest days. In this splendid group there is a masculine
energy, a fulness of life, and a grandeur of representation which
carries _le grand style_ to its furthest limits, and if Giorgione
actually completed the picture before his death, he anticipated the full
splendour of the riper Renaissance. To him is certainly due the general
composition, with its superb lines, its beautiful curves, its majestic
and dignified postures, its charming sunset background, to him is
certainly due the splendid chiaroscuro and magic colour-chord; but it
becomes a question whether some of the detail was not actually finished
by Giorgione's pupil, Sebastiano del Piombo.[136] The drawing, for
instance, of the hands vividly suggests his help, the type of S. Joseph
in the background reminds us of the figure of S. Chrysostom in
Sebastiano's Venice altar-piece, while the S. Catherine recalls the
Angel in Sebastiano's "Holy Family" at Naples. If this be the case, we
here have another instance of the pupil finishing his master's work, and
this time probably after his death, for, as already pointed out, the
"Evander and Aeneas" (at Vienna) must have been left by Giorgione
well-nigh complete at an earlier stage than the year of his death.

That Sebastiano stood in close relation to his master, Giorgione, is
evidenced not only by Vasari's statement, but by the obvious dependence
of the S. Giovanni Crisostomo altar-piece at Venice on Giorgionesque
models. Moreover, the "Violin Player," formerly in the Sciarra Palace,
at once reminds us of the "Barberigo" portrait at Cobham, while the
"Herodias with the Head of John Baptist," dated 1510, now in the
collection of Mr. George Salting, shows conclusively how closely related
were the two painters in the last year of Giorgione's life. Sebastiano
was twenty-five years of age in 1510, and appears to have worked under
Giorgione for some time before removing to Rome, which he did on, or
shortly before, his master's death. His departure left Titian, his
associate under Giorgione, master of the field; he, too, had a hand in
finishing some of the work left incomplete in the atelier, and his
privilege it became to continue the Giorgionesque tradition, and to
realise in utmost perfection in after years the aspirations and ideals
so brilliantly anticipated by the young genius of Castelfranco.[137]


[113] The Doges Agostino Barberigo, and Leonardo Loredano, Consalvo of
Cordova, Giovanni Borgherini and his tutor, Luigi Crasso, and others,
are mentioned as having sat to Giorgione for their portraits. Modern
criticism has recently distributed several "Giorgionesque" portraits in
English collections among Licinio, Lotto, and even Polidoro! But this
disintegrating process may be, and has been, carried too far.

[114] Two more small works may be mentioned which may tentatively be
ascribed to Giorgione. "The Two Musicians," in the Glasgow Gallery
(recently transferred to Campagnola), and a "Sta. Justina" (known to me
only from a photograph), which has passed lately into the collection of
Herr von Kauffmann at Berlin.

Signor Venturi (_L'Arte_, 1900) has just acquired for the National
Gallery in Rome a "St. George slaying the Dragon." Judging only from the
photograph, I should say he is correct in his identification of this as
Giorgione's work. It seems to be akin to the "Apollo and Daphne," and
"Orpheus and Eurydice."

[115] I am pleased to find Signor Venturi has anticipated my own
conclusion in his recently published _La Galleria Crespi_.

[116] Mr. Cosmo Monkhouse (_In the National Gallery_, p. 223) has
already rightly recognised the same hand in this picture and in the
"Epiphany" hanging just below.

[117] Meravig, i. 124.

[118] By a happy accident the new "Giorgione" label, intended for the
"Epiphany," No. 1160, was for some time affixed to No. 1173.

[119] When in the Orleans Gallery the picture was engraved under
Giorgione's name by de Longueil and Halbon.

[120] New illustrated edition of the National Gallery Catalogue, 1900.

[121] Now in America, in Mrs. Gardner's Collection.

[122] Crowe and Cavalcaselle: _Titian_, i. p. III. This picture was then
at Burleigh House.

[123] See _La Galleria Crespi_, 1900.

[124] _The Earlier Work of Titian_ p. 24. _Portfolio_, October 1897.

[125] _Tizian_, p. 16.

[126] Morelli, ii. 57, note.

[127] See _antea_, p. 71.

[128] With the exception of the right arm, which Titian has let fall,
instead placing it behind the head of the sleeping goddess. The effect
of the beautiful curve is thereby lost, and Titian shows himself
Giorgione's inferior in quality of line.

[129] As in the "Aeneas and Evander" (Vienna), the "Judith" (St.
Petersburg), the Madrid "Madonna and Saints," etc.

[130] As in the "Caterina Cornare" of the Crespi collection at Milan.

[131] _Magazine of Art_. July 1895.

[132] _North American Review_. October 1899.

[133] _Magazine of Art_, 1890, pp. 91 and 138.

[134] The small divergencies of detail in the dress of the "Adulteress,"
etc., are just such as an imitator might have ventured to make. The hand
and arm of the Christ have, however, been altered for the better.

[135] This is the first time in Venetian art that the subject appears.
It is frequently found later.

[136] Cariani is by some made responsible for the whole picture. A
comparison with an authentic example hanging (in the new arrangement of
the Long Gallery), close by, ought surely to convince the advocates of
Cariani of their mistake.

[137] Morto da Feltre is mentioned by Vasari as having assisted
Giorgione in the decoration of the Fondaco de' Tedeschi. This was in
1508. Otherwise, we know of no pupils or assistants employed by the
master, a fact which goes to show that his influence was felt, not so
much through any personal teaching, as through his work.



The examination in detail of all those pictures best entitled, on
internal evidence, to rank as genuine productions of Giorgione has
incidentally revealed to us much that is characteristic of the man
himself. We started with the axiom that a man's work is his best
autobiography, and where, as in Giorgione's case, so little historical
or documentary record exists, such indications of character as may be
gleaned from a study of his life's work become of the utmost value. _Le
style c'est l'homme_ is a saying eminently applicable in cases where, as
with Giorgione, the personal element is strongly marked. The subject, as
we have seen over and over again, is so highly charged with the artist's
mood, with his individual feelings and emotions, that it becomes
unrecognisable as mere illustration, and the work passes by virtue of
sheer inspiration into the higher realms of creative art. Such fusion of
personality and subject is the characteristic of lyrical art, and in
this domain Giorgione is a supreme master. His genius, as Morelli
rightly pointed out, is essentially lyrical in contradistinction to
Titian's, which is essentially dramatic. Take the epithets that we have
constantly applied to his pictures in the course of our survey, and see
how they bear out this statement--epithets such as romantic, fantastic,
picturesque, gay, or again, delicate, refined, sensitive, serene, and
the like; these bear witness to qualities of mind where the keynote is
invariably exquisite feeling. Giorgione was, in fact, what is commonly
called a poet-painter, gifted with the artistic temperament to an
extraordinary degree, essentially impulsive, a man of moods. It is
inevitable that such a man produces work of varying merit; inequality
must be a characteristic feature of his art. In less fortunate
circumstances than those in which Giorgione was placed, such
temperaments as his become peevish, morose, morbid; but his lines were
cast in pleasant places, and his moods were healthy, joyous, and serene.
He does not concern himself with the tragedy of life, with its pathos or
its disappointments. In his two renderings of "Christ bearing the
Cross"[138]--the only instances we have of his portrayal of the Man of
Sorrows--he appeals more to our sense of the dignity of humanity, and to
the nobility of the Christ, than to our tenderer sympathies. How
different from the pathetic Pietàs of his master, Giambellini! This
shrinking from pain and sorrow, this dislike to the representation of
suffering is, however, as much due to the natural gaiety and elasticity
of youth as to the happy accident of his surroundings. We must never
forget that Giorgione's whole achievement was over at an age when some
men's life-work has hardly begun. The eighteen years of his activity
were what we sometimes call the years of promise, and he must not be
judged as we judge a Titian or a Michel Angelo. He is the wonderful
youth, full of joyous aspirations, gilding all he touches with the
radiance of his spirit. His pictures, suffused with a golden glow, are
the reflection of his sunny life; the vividness and intensity of his
passion are expressed in the gorgeousness of his colours.

I have elsewhere dwelt upon the precocity of Giorgione's talent, with
its accompanying qualities of versatility, inequality, and
productiveness, and I have pointed out the analogous phenomena in music
and poetry. Giorgione, Schubert, and Keats are alike in temperament and
quality of expression. They are curiously alike in the shortness of
their lives,[139] and the fever-heat of their production. But they are
strangely distinct in the manner of their lives. The disparity of
outward circumstances accounts for the healthy tone of Giorgione's art,
when contrasted with the morbid utterances of Keats. Schubert suffered
privations and poverty, and his song was wrung from him alike at moments
of inspiration and of necessity. But Giorgione is all aglow with natural
energy; he suffered no restraints, nor is his art forced or morbid.
Confine his spirit, check the play of his fancy, set him a task
prescribed by convention or hampered by conditions, and you get proof of
the fretfulness, the impatience of restraint which the artist felt. The
"Judgment of Solomon" and "The Adulteress before Christ," the only two
"set" pieces he ever attempted, eloquently show how he fell short when
struggling athwart his genius. For to register a fact was utterly
foreign to his nature; he records an impression, frankly surrendering
his spirit to the sense of joy and beauty. He is not seldom incoherent,
and may even grow careless, but in power of imagination and exuberance
of fancy he is always supreme.

In one respect, however, Giorgione shows himself a greater than Schubert
or Keats. He has a profounder insight into human nature in its varying
aspects than either the musician or the poet. He is less a visionary,
because his experience of men and things is greater than theirs; his
outlook is wider, he is less self-centred. This power of grasping
objective truth naturally shows itself most readily in the portraits he
painted, and it was due to the force of circumstances, as I believe,
that this faculty was trained and developed. Had Giorgione lived aloof
from the world, had not his natural reticence and sensitiveness been
dominated by outside influences, he might have remained all his life
dreaming dreams, and seeing visions, a lyric poet indeed, but not a
great and living, influence in his generation. Yet such undoubtedly he
was, for he effected nothing short of a revolution in the contemporary
art of Venice. Can the same be said of Schubert or Keats? The truth is
that Giorgione had opportunities of studying human nature such as the
others never enjoyed; fortune smiled upon him in his earliest years, and
he found himself thrust into the society of the great, who were eager to
sit to him for their portraits. How the young Castelfrancan first
achieved such distinction is not told us by the historians, but I have
ventured to connect his start in life with the presence of the ex-Queen
of Cyprus, Caterina Cornaro, at Asolo, near Castelfranco; I think it
more than probable that her patronage and recommendation launched the
young painter on his successful career in Venice. Certain it is that he
painted her portrait in his earlier days, and if, as I have sought to
prove, Signor Crespi's picture is the long-lost portrait of the great
lady, we may well understand the instant success such an achievement

Here, if anywhere, we get Giorgione's great interpretative qualities,
his penetration into human nature, his reading of character. It is an
astonishing thing for one so young to have done, explicable
psychologically on the existence of a lively sympathy between the great
lady and the poet-painter. Had we other portraits of the fair sex by
Giorgione, I venture to think we should find in them his reading of the
human soul even more plainly evidenced than in the male portraits we
actually possess.[140] For it is clear that the artist was
"impressionable," and he would have given us more sympathetic
interpretations of the fair sex than those which Titian has left us. The
so-called "Portrait of the Physician Parma" (at Vienna) is another
instance of Giorgione's grasp of character, the virility and suppressed
energy being admirably seized, the conception approaching more nearly to
Titian's in its essential dignity than is usually the case with
Giorgione's portraits. It is a matter of more regret, therefore, that
the likenesses of the Doges Agostino Barberigo and Leonardo Loredano are
missing, for in them we might have had specimens of work comparable to
the Caterina Cornaro, which, in my opinion at all events, is Giorgione's
masterpiece of portraiture.

I have given reasons elsewhere for dating this portrait at latest 1500.
It is probably anterior by a few years to the close of the century. This
deduction, if correct, has far-reaching consequences: it becomes
actually the first _modern_ portrait ever painted, for it is the
earliest instance of a portrait instinct with the newer life of the
Renaissance. And this brings us to the question: What was Giorgione's
relation to that great awakening of the human spirit which we call the
Renaissance? Mr. Berenson answers the question thus: "His pictures are
the perfect reflex of the Renaissance at its height."[141] If this be
taken to mean that Giorgione _anticipated_ the aspirations and ideals of
the riper Renaissance, I think we may acquiesce in the phrase; but that
the onward movement of this great revival coincided only with the
artist's years, and culminated at his death, is not historically
correct. The wave had not reached its highest point by the year 1510,
and Titian was yet to rise to a fuller and grander expression of the
human soul. But Giorgione may rightly be called the Herald of the
Renaissance, not only by virtue of the position he holds in Venetian
painting, but by priority of appearance on the wider horizon of Italian

Let us take the four great representative exponents of Italian Art at
its best, Raphael, Correggio, Leonardo, and Michel Angelo.
Chronologically, Giorgione precedes Raphael and Correggio, though
Leonardo and Michel Angelo were born before him.[142] But had either of
the latter proclaimed a new order of things as early as 1495? Michel
Angelo was just twenty years old, and he had not yet carved his "Pietà"
for S. Peter's. Leonardo, a man of forty-three, had not completed his
"Cenacolo," and the "Mona Lisa" would not be created for another five or
six years. Giorgione's "Caterina Cornaro," therefore, becomes the first
masterpiece of the earlier Renaissance, and proclaims a revolution in
the history of portraiture. In Venice itself we have only to look at the
contemporary portraits by Alvise Vivarini and Gentile Bellini, and at
the slightly earlier busts by Antonello da Messina, to see what a world
of difference in feeling and interpretation there is between them and
Giorgione's portraits. What a splendid array of artistic triumphs must
have sprung up around this masterpiece! The Cobham portrait and the
National Gallery "Poet" are alone left us in much of their pristine
splendour, but what of the lost portraits of the great Consalvo and of
the Doge Agostino Barberigo, both of which must date from the year 1500?

Giorgione is then the Herald of the Renaissance, and never did genius
arise in more fitting season. It was the right psychological moment for
such a man, and Giorgione "painted pictures so perfectly in touch with
the ripened spirit of the Renaissance that they met with the success
which those things only find that at the same moment wake us to the
full sense of a need and satisfy it."[143] This is the secret of his
overwhelming influence on succeeding painters in Venice,--not, indeed,
on his direct pupil Sebastiano del Piombo, and on his friend and
associate Titian (who may fairly be called his pupil), but on such
different natures as Lotto, Palma, Bonifazio, Bordone, Pordenone,
Cariani, Romanino, Dosso Dossi, and a host of smaller men. The School of
Giorgione numbers far more adherents than even the School of Leonardo,
or the School of Raphael, not because of any direct teaching of the
master, but because the "Giorgionesque" spirit was abroad, and the taste
of the day required paintings like Giorgione's to satisfy it. But as no
revolution can be effected without a struggle, and as there are
invariably people opposed to any reform, whether in art or in anything
else, we need not be surprised to find the academic faction, represented
by the aged Giambellini and his pupils, resisting the progress of the
Newer Art. In Giorgione's own lifetime, the exact measure of the
opposition is not easy to gauge, but it bore fruit a few years later in
the machinations of the official Bellinesque party to keep Titian out of
the Ducal Palace when he was seeking State recognition,[144]
Nevertheless, Giambellini, even at his age, found it advisable to
modulate into the newer key, as may be seen in his "S. Giovanni
Crisostomo enthroned," where not only is the conception lyrical and the
treatment romantic, but the actual composition is on the lines of the
essentially Giorgionesque equilateral triangle. This great altar-piece
was painted three years after Giorgione's death, and no more splendid
testimonial to the young painter's genius could be found than in the
forced homage thus paid to his memory by the octogenarian

We have already, in the course of our survey of Giorgione's pictures,
noted the points wherein he was an initiator. "Genre subjects," and
"Landscape with figures," as we should say nowadays, found in him their
earliest exponent. Before him artists had, indeed, painted figures with
a landscape background, but the perfect blend of Nature and human nature
was his achievement. This was accomplished by artistic means of the
simplest, yet irresistibly subtle in their appeal. The quality of line
and the sensuousness of colour nowhere cast their spells over us more
strangely than in Giorgione's pictures, and by these means he wrought
"effects" such as no artist has surpassed. In these purely pictorial
qualities he is supreme, and claims place with the few quintessential
artists of the world; to him may be applied by analogy the phrase that
Liszt applied to Schubert, "Le musicien le plus poète que jamais."

As an instrument of expression, then, colour is used by Giorgione more
naturally and effectively than it is by any of the Venetian painters. It
appeals directly to our senses, like rare old stained glass, and seems
to be of the very essence of the object itself. An engraving or
photograph after such a picture as the Louvre "Pastoral Symphony" fails
utterly to convey the sense of exhilaration one feels in presence of
the actual painting, simply because the tonic effect of the colour is
wholly wanting. The golden shimmer of light, the vibration of the air,
the saturation of atmosphere with pure colour are not only ingredients
in, but are of the very essence of the creation. It has been well said
that almost literally the chief colour on Giorgione's palette was
sunlight.[146] His masterly treatment of light and shadow, in which he
was scarcely Leonardo's inferior, enabled him to make use of rich and
full-bodied colours, which are never gaudy, as sometimes with Bonifazio,
or pretty, as with Catena and lesser artists. Nor is he decorative in
the way that Veronese excels, or lurid like Tintoretto. Compared with
Titian it is as though his colour-chord sounded in seven sharps, whilst
the former strikes the key of C natural. A full rich green frequently
occurs, as in the Castelfranco "Madonna" and the Louvre picture, and a
deep crimson, contrasting with pure white drapery, or with golden
flesh-tints, is also characteristic. In the painting of the nude he
gives us real flesh and blood; his "Venus" has not the supernatural
radiance that Correggio can give his ethereal beings (Giorgione, by the
way, never painted an angel, so far as we know), but she glows with
actual life, the blood is pulsing through the veins, she is very real.
And in this connection we may notice the extraordinary skill with which
Giorgione conveys a sense of texture; his painting of rich brocades, and
more especially quilted stuffs and satiny folds, cannot be surpassed
even by a Terburg.

The quality of line in his work makes itself felt in many ways. Beauty
of contour and unbroken continuity of curve is obtained sometimes by
sacrificing literal accuracy; a structurally impossible position--as the
seated nude figure in the Louvre picture--is deliberately adopted to
heighten the effect of line or the balance of composition. The Dresden
"Venus," if she arose, would appear of strange proportions; but
expressiveness is enhanced by the long flowing contours of the body, so
suggestive of repose. We may notice also the emphasis obtained by
parallelism; for example, the line of the left arm of the "Venus"
follows the curve of the body, a trick which may be often seen in folds
of drapery. This picture also illustrates a device to retain continuity
of line; the right foot is hidden away so as not to interfere with the
contour. Exactly the same thing may be seen in the standing figure in
the Louvre "Pastoral Symphony." The trick of making a grand sweep from
the top of the head downwards is usually found in the Madonna pictures,
where a cunningly placed veil carries the line usually to the sloping
shoulders, or else outwards to the point of the elbow, thus introducing
the triangular scheme to which Giorgione was particularly partial.

But the question remains, What is Giorgione's position among the world's
great men? Is he intellectually to be ranked with the Great Thinkers of
all time? Can he aspire to the position which Titian occupies? I fear
not Beethoven is infinitely greater than Schubert, Shakespeare than
Keats, and so, though in lesser degree, is Titian than Giorgione. I say
in lesser degree, because the young poet-painter had something of that
profound insight into human nature, something of that wide outlook on
life, something of that universal sympathy, and something of that vast
influence which distinguishes the greatest intellects of all, and this
it is which lessens the distance between him and Titian. Yet Titian is
the greater man, for he is "the highest and completest expression of his
own age."[147]

Nevertheless, in that narrower sphere of the great painters, who
proclaimed the glad tidings of Liberty when the Spirit of Man awoke from
Mediaevalism, may we not add yet a fifth voice to the four-part harmony
of Raphael, Correggio, Leonardo, and Michel Angelo, the voice of
Giorgione, the wondrous youth, "the George of Georges," who heralded the
Renaissance of which we are the heirs?


[138] In the Church of San Rocco, Venice, and in Mrs. Gardner's
Collection in America.

[139] Keats died at the age of twenty-five; Schubert was thirty-one;
Giorgione thirty-three.

[140] The ruined condition of the Borghese "Lady" prevents any just
appreciation of the interpretative qualities.

[141] _Venetian Painters_, p. 30.

[142] Leonardo, 1452-1519; Michel Angelo, 1475-1564; Giorgione,
1477-1510; Raphael, 1483-1520; Correggio, 1494-1534. Correggio, Raphael,
and Giorgione died at the ages of forty, thirty-seven, and thirty-three
years respectively. Those whom the gods love die young!

[143] Berenson: _Venetian Painters_, p. 29. I should prefer to
substitute "ripening" for "ripened."

[144] Fry: _Giovanni Bellini_, p. 44.

[145] In S. Giovanni Crisostomo, Venice. It dates from 1513.

[146] Mary Logan: _Guide to the Italian Pictures at Hampton Court_, p.

[147] Berenson: _Venetian Painters_, p. 48.



The following correspondence between Isabella d'Este, Marchioness of
Mantua, and her agent Albano in Venice, is reprinted from the _Archivio
Storico dell' Arte_, 1888, p. 47 (article by Sig. Alessandro Luzio):--

     "Sp. Amice noster charissime; Intendemo che in le cose et heredità
     de Zorzo da Castelfrancho pictore se ritrova una pictura de una
     nocte, molto bella et singulare; quando cossì fusse,
     desideraressimo haverla, però vi pregamo che voliati essere cum
     Lorenzo da Pavia et qualche altro che habbi judicio et designo, et
     vedere se l'è cosa excellente, et trovando de sì operiati il megio
     del m'co m. Carlo Valerio, nostro compatre charissimo, et de chi
     altro vi parerà per apostar questa pictura per noi, intendendo il
     precio et dandone aviso. Et quando vi paresse de concludere il
     mercato, essendo cosa bona, per dubio non fusse levata da altri,
     fati quel che ve parerà: chè ne rendemo certe fareti cum ogni
     avantagio e fede et cum bona consulta. Ofteremone a vostri piaceri

     "Mantua xxv. oct MDX."

The agent replies a few days later--

     "Ill'ma et Exc'ma M'a mia obser'ma

     "Ho inteso quanto mi scrive la Ex. V. per una sua de xxv. del
     passatto, facendome intender haver inteso ritrovarsi in le cosse et
     eredità del q. Zorzo de Castelfrancho una pictura de una notte,
     molto bella et singulare; che essendo cossì si deba veder de

     "A che rispondo a V. Ex. che ditto Zorzo morì più dì fanno da
     peste, et per voler servir quella ho parlato cum alcuni mei amizi,
     che havevano grandissime praticha cum lui, quali me affirmano non
     esser in ditta heredità tal pictura. Ben è vero che ditto Zorzo ne
     feze una a m. Thadeo Contarini, qual per la informatione ho autta
     non è molto perfecta sichondo vorebe quela. Un'altra pictura de la
     nocte feze ditto Zorzo a uno Victorio Becharo, qual per quanto
     intendo è de meglior desegnio et meglio finitta che non è quella
     del Contarini. Ma esso Becharo, al presente non si atrova in questa
     terra, et sichondo m'è stato afirmatto nè l'una nè l'altra non sono
     da vendere per pretio nesuno; però che li hanno fatte fare per
     volerle godere per loro; sichè mi doglio non poter satisfar al
     dexiderio de quella ecc.

     "Venetijs viii Novembris 1510.



From this letter we learn definitely (1) that Giorgione died in
October-November 1510; (2) that he died of the plague.

I have pointed out in the text that the above description of the two
pictures "de una notte" corresponds with the actual Beaumont and Vienna
"Nativities," or "Adoration of the Shepherds," in which I recognise the
hand of Giorgione.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following is the only existing document in Giorgione's own
handwriting. It was published by Molmenti in the _Bollettino delle
Arti_, anno ii. No. 2, and reprinted by Conti, p. 50:--

     "El se dichiara per el presente come el clarissimo Messer Aluixe di
     Sesti die a fare a mi Zorzon de Castelfrancho quatro quadri in
     quadrato con le geste di Daniele in bona pictura su telle, et li
     telleri sarano soministrati per dito m. Aluixe, il quale doveva
     stabilir la spexa di detti quadri quando serano compidi et di sua
     satisfatione entro il presente anno 1508.

     "Io Zorzon de Castelfrancho di mia man scrissi la presente in
     Venetia li 13 febrar 1508."

Whether or no Giorgione ever completed these four square canvases with
the story of Daniel is unknown. There is no trace of any such pictures
in modern times.



_Reprinted from the "Nineteenth Century" Jan_. 1902

There is something fascinating in the popular belief that Titian, the
greatest of all Venetian painters, reached the patriarchal age of
ninety-nine years, and was actively at work up to the day of his death.
The text-books love to tell us the story of the great unfinished "Pietà"
with its pathetic inscription:

    Quod Titianus inchoatum reliquit
    Palma reverenter absolvit
    Deoq. dicavit opus;

and traveller, guide-book in hand, and moralist, philosophy in head,
alike muse upon a phenomenon so startlingly at variance with common

But, sentiment aside, is there any historical evidence that Titian ever
worked at his art in his hundredth year? that he even attained such a
venerable age? The answer is of wider consequence than the mere question
implies, for on the correct determination of Titian's own chronology
depends the history of the development of the entire Venetian school of
painting in the early years of the sixteenth century. I say _early_,
because it is the date of Titian's birth, and not that of his death,
which I shall endeavour to fix; the latter event is known beyond
possibility of doubt to have occurred in August 1576. The question,
therefore, to consider is, what justification, if any, is there for the
universal belief that Titian was born in 1476-7, just a hundred years

Anyone, I think, who has ever looked into the history of Titian's career
must have been struck by the fact that for the first thirty-five years
of his life (according to the usual chronology) there is absolutely no
documentary record relating to him, whether in the Venetian archives or
elsewhere. Not a single letter, not a single contract, not a single
mention of his name occurs from which we can so much as affirm his
existence before the year 1511.

On the 2nd of December in that year "Io tician di Cador Dpñtore" gives a
receipt for money paid him on completion of some frescoes at Padua, and
from this date on there are frequent letters and documents in existence
right down to 1576, the year of his death. Is it not somewhat strange
that the first thirty-five years of his life (as is commonly believed)
should be a total blank so far as records go? The fact becomes the more
inexplicable when we find that during these early years some of his
finest work is alleged to have been executed, and he must--if we accept
the chronology of his biographers--have been well known to and highly
esteemed by his contemporaries.[149] Moreover, it is not for want of
diligent search amongst the archives that nothing has been found, for
Italian and German students have alike sought, but in vain, to discover
any documentary evidence relating to his career before 1511.

The absence of any such trustworthy record has had its natural result.
Conjecture has run riot, and no two writers are agreed on the subject of
the nature and development of Titian's earlier art. This is the second
disquieting fact which any careful student has to face. Messrs. Crowe
and Cavalcaselle, Titian's most exhaustive biographers,[150] have filled
up the first thirty-five years of his career in their own way, but their
chronology has found no favour with later writers, such as Mr. Claude
Phillips in England[151] or Dr. Georg Gronau in Germany,[152] both of
whom have arrived at independent conclusions. Morelli again had his
theories on the subject, and M. Lafenestre[153] has his, and the
ordinary gallery catalogue is usually content to state inaccurate facts
without further ado.

Now, if all these conscientious writers arrive at results so widely
divergent, either their logic or their data must be wrong! One and all
assume that Titian lived into his hundredth year, and, therefore, was
born in 1476-7; and starting with this theory as a fact, they have tried
to fit in Vasari's account as best they can, and each has found a
different solution of the problem. There is only one way out of this
chaos of conjectures--we must see what is the evidence for the
"centenarian" tradition, and if it can be shown that Titian was really
born later than 1476-7, then the silence of all records about him during
an alleged period of thirty-five years will become at once more
intelligible, and we may be able to explain some of the other anomalies
which at present confront Titian's biographers.

I propose to take the evidence in strictly chronological order.

The oldest contemporary account of Titian's career is furnished by
Lodovico Dolce in his _L'Aretino, o dialogo della pittura_, which was
published at Venice in 1557. Dolce knew Titian personally, and wrote his
treatise just at the time when the painter was at the zenith of his
fame. He is our sole authority for certain incidents of Titian's early
career: it will be well, therefore, to quote in full the opening
paragraphs of his narrative:

"Being born at Cadore of honourable parents, he was sent when a child of
nine years old by his father to Venice to the house of his father's
brother ... in order that he might be put under some proper master to
study painting; his father having perceived in him even at that tender
age strong marks of genius towards the art.... His uncle directly
carried the child to the house of Sebastiano, father of the
_gentilissìmo_ Valerio and of Francesco Zuccati (distinguished masters
of the art of mosaic, by them brought to that perfection in which we now
see the best pictures) to learn the principles of the art. From them he
was removed to Gentile Bellini, brother of Giovanni, but much inferior
to him, who at that time was at work with his brother in the Grand
Council-Chamber. But Titian, impelled by Nature to greater excellence
and perfection in his art, could not endure following the dry and
laboured manner of Gentile, but designed with boldness and expedition.
Whereupon Gentile told him he would make no progress in painting,
because he diverged so much from the old style. Thereupon Titian left
the stupid _(goffo)_ Gentile, and found means to attach himself to
Giovanni Bellini; but not perfectly pleased with his manner, he chose
Giorgio da Castel Franco. Titian then drawing and painting with
Giorgione, as he was called, became in a short time so accomplished in
art, that when Giorgione was painting the façade of the Fondaco de'
Tedeschi, or Exchange of the German Merchants, which looks towards the
Grand Canal, Titian was allotted the other side which faces the
market-place, being at the time scarcely twenty years old. Here he
represented a Judith of wonderful design and colour, so remarkable,
indeed, that when the work came to be uncovered, it was commonly thought
to be the work of Giorgione, and all the latter's friends congratulated
him as being by far the best thing he had produced. Whereupon Giorgione,
in great displeasure, replied that the work was from the hand of his
pupil, who showed already how he could surpass his master, and, what was
more, Giorgione shut himself up for some days at home, as if in despair,
seeing that a young man knew more that he did."

Fortunately, the exact date can be fixed when the frescoes on the
Fondaco de' Tedeschi were painted, for we have original records
preserved from which we learn the work was begun in 1507 and completed
towards the close of 1508.[154] If Titian, then, was "scarcely twenty
years old" in 1507-8, he must have been born in 1488-9. Dolce
particularly emphasises his youthfulness at the time, calling him _un
giovanetto_, a phrase he twice applies to him in the next paragraph,
when he is describing the famous altar-piece of the 'Assunta,' the
commission for which, as we know from other sources, was given in 1516.

"Not long afterwards he was commissioned to paint a large picture for
the High Altar of the Church of the Frati Minori, where Titian, quite a
young man _(pur giovanetto)_, painted in oil the Virgin ascending to
Heaven.... This was the first public work which he painted in oil, and
he did it in a very short time, and while still a young man _(e

This phrase could hardly be applied to a man over thirty, so that
Titian's birth cannot reasonably be dated before 1486 or so, and is much
more likely to fall later. The previous deduction that it was 1488-9 is
thus further strengthened.

The evidence, then, of Dolce, writing in 1557, is clear and consistent:
Titian was born in 1488-9. Now let us see what is stated by Vasari, who
is the next oldest authority.

The first edition of the _Lives_ appeared in 1550--that is, just prior
to Dolce's _Dialogue_--but a revised and enlarged edition appeared in
1568, in which important evidence occurs as to Titian's age. After
enumerating certain pictures by the great Venetian, Vasari adds:

"(_a_) All these works, with many others which I omit, to avoid
prolixity, have been executed up to the present age of our artist, which
is above seventy-six years.... In the year 1566, when Vasari, the writer
of the present history, was at Venice, he went to visit Titian, as one
who was his friend, and found him, although then very old, still with
the pencil in his hand, and painting busily."[155]

According to Vasari, then, Titian was "above seventy-six years" when the
second edition of the _Lives_ was written, and as from the explicit
nature of the evidence this must have been between 1566, when he visited
Venice, and January 1568, when his book was published, it follows that
Titian was "above seventy-six years" in 1566-7--in other words, that he
was born 1489-90.

Still confining ourselves to Vasari, we find two other passages bearing
on the question:

"(_b_) Titian was born in the year 1480 at Cadore.[156]

"(_c_) About the year 1507 Giorgione da Castel Franco began to give to
his works unwonted softness and relief, painting them in a very
beautiful manner.... Having seen the manner of Giorgione, Titian early
resolved to abandon that of Gian Bellino, although well grounded
therein. He now, therefore, devoted himself to this purpose, and in a
short time so closely imitated Giorgione that his pictures were
sometimes taken for those of that master.... At the time when Titian
began to adopt the manner of Giorgione, being then not more than
eighteen, he took the portrait," etc.[157]

This passage (_c_) makes Titian "not more than eighteen about the year
1507," and fixes the date of his birth as 1489-90, therein agreeing with
the previous deduction at which we arrived when examining the passage in
Vasari's second edition. Thus in two places out of three Vasari is
consistent in fixing 1489-90 as the date. How, then, explain (_b_),
which explicitly gives 1480?

Anyone conversant with Vasari's inaccuracies will hardly be surprised to
find that this statement is dismissed by all Titian's biographers as
manifestly a mistake. Moreover, it is inconsistent with the two passages
just quoted, and either they are wrong or 1480 is a misprint for 1489.
Now, from the nature of the evidence recorded by Vasari, it cannot be a
matter for any doubt which is the more trustworthy statement. On the one
hand, he speaks as an eye-witness of Titian's old age, and is careful to
record the exact year he visited Venice and the age of the painter; on
the other hand, he makes a bald statement which he certainly cannot have
verified, and which is inconsistent with his own experience! In any
case, in Vasari's text the evidence is two to one in favour of 1489-90
as the right date, and thus we come to the agreeable conclusion that our
two oldest authorities, Dolce and Vasari, are at one in fixing Titian's
birth between 1488 and 1490--in other words, about 1489.

So far, then, all is clear, and as we know from later and indisputable
evidence that Titian died in 1576, it follows that he only attained the
age of eighty-seven and not ninety-nine. Whence, then, comes the story
of the ninety-nine years? From none other than Titian himself, and to
this piece of evidence we must next turn, following out a strict
chronological order.

In 1571--that is, three years after Vasari's second edition was
published--Titian addresses a letter to Philip the Second of Spain in
these terms:[158]

     "Most potent and invincible King,--I think your Majesty will have
     received by this the picture of 'Lucretia and Tarquin' which was to
     have been presented by the Venetian Ambassador. I now come with
     these lines to ask your Majesty to deign to command that I should
     be informed as to what pleasure it has given. The calamities of the
     present times, in which every one is suffering from the continuance
     of war, force me to this step, and oblige me at the same time to
     ask to be favoured with some kind proof of your Majesty's grace, as
     well as with some assistance from Spain or elsewhere, since I have
     not been able for years past to obtain any payment either from the
     Naples grant, or from my ordinary pension. The state of my affairs
     is indeed such that I do not know how to live in this my old age,
     devoted as it entirely is to the service of your Catholic Majesty,
     and to no other. Not having for eighteen years past received a
     _quattrino_ for the paintings which I delivered from time to time,
     and of which I forward a list by this opportunity to the secretary
     Perez, I feel assured that your Majesty's infinite clemency will
     cause a careful consideration to be made of the services of an old
     servant of the age of ninety-five, by extending to him some
     evidence of munificence and liberality. Sending two prints of the
     design of the Beato Lorenzo, and most humbly recommending myself,

     "I am Your Catholic Majesty's

     "most devoted, humble servant,


     "From Venice, the 1st of August, 1571."

Here, then, is Titian himself, in the year 1571, declaring that he is
ninety-five years of age--in other words, dating his birth back to
1476--that is, some thirteen years earlier than Dolce and Vasari imply
was the case. A flagrant discrepancy of evidence! In similar strain he
thus addresses the king again five years later:[159]

     "Your Catholic and Royal Majesty,--The infinite benignity with
     which your Catholic Majesty--by natural habit--is accustomed to
     gratify all such as have served and still serve your Majesty
     faithfully, enboldens me to appear with the present (letter) to
     recall myself to your royal memory, in which I believe that my old
     and devoted service will have kept me unaltered. My prayer is this:
     twenty years have elapsed and I have never had any recompense for
     the many pictures sent on divers occasions to your Majesty; but
     having received intelligence from the Secretary Antonio Perez of
     your Majesty's wish to gratify me, and having reached a great old
     age not without privations, I now humbly beg that your Majesty will
     deign, with accustomed benevolence, to give such directions to
     ministers as will relieve my want. The glorious memory of Charles
     the Fifth, your Majesty's father, having numbered me amongst his
     familiar, nay, most faithful servants, by honouring me beyond my
     deserts with the title of _cavaliere_, I wish to be able, with the
     favour and protection of your Majesty--true portrait of that
     immortal emperor--to support as it deserves the name of a
     cavaliere, which is so honoured and esteemed in the world; and that
     it may be known that the services done by me during many years to
     the most serene house of Austria have met with grateful return, to
     spend what remains of my days in the service of your Majesty. For
     this I should feel the more obliged, as I should thus be consoled
     in my old age, whilst praying to God to concede to your Majesty a
     long and happy life with increase of his divine grace and
     exaltation of your Majesty's Kingdom. In the meanwhile I expect
     from the royal benevolence of your Majesty the fruits of the favour
     I desire, with due reverence and humility, and kissing your sacred

     "I am Your Catholic Majesty's

     "most humble and devoted servant,


     "From Venice, the 27th of February, 1576."

This is the last letter we have of Titian, who died in August of this
year, according to his own showing, in his hundredth year.

Now what reliance can be placed on this statement? On the one hand, we
have the evidence of two independent writers, Dolce and Vasari, both
personally acquainted with Titian, and both agreeing by inference that
the date of his birth was about 1489. Both had ample opportunity to get
at the truth, and Vasari is particularly explicit in recording the exact
date when he visited Titian in Venice and the age the painter had then
reached. Yet five years later Titian is found stating that he is
ninety-five, and not eighty-two as we should expect! Perhaps the best
comment is made by Crowe and Cavalcaselle, who significantly remark
immediately after the last letter: "Titian's appeal to the benevolence
of the King of Spain looks like that of a garrulous old gentleman proud
of his longevity, but hoping still to live for many years."[160]
Exactly! The occasion could well be improved by a little timely
exaggeration well calculated to appeal to the sympathies and "infinite
benignity" of the monarch, and if, when the writer had actually reached
the respectable age of eighty-two, he wrote himself down as ninety-five,
who would gainsay him? It added point to his appeal--that was the chief
thing--and as to accuracy, well, Titian was not the man to be
over-scrupulous when his own interests were involved. But even though
the statement were not deliberately made to heighten the effect of an
appeal, we must in any case make allowances for the natural proneness to
exaggerate their age which usually characterises men of advanced years,
so that any _ex parte_ statement of this kind must be received with due
caution. Where, moreover, as in the present case, we have evidence of a
directly contradictory kind furnished by independent witnesses, whose
declarations in this respect are presumably disinterested, such _ex
parte_ statements are on the face of them unreliable. The balance of
evidence in this case appears to rest on the side of the older
historians, Dolce and Vasari, whose statements, as I hold, are in the
circumstances more reliable than the picturesque exaggeration of a man
of advanced years.

I claim, therefore, that any account of Titian's life based solely on
such flimsy evidence as to his age as is found in this letter to Philip
the Second is, to say the least, open to grave doubt. The whole
superstructure raised by modern writers on this uncertain foundation is
full of flaws and incongruities, and I am fully persuaded the future
historian will have to begin _de novo_ in any attempt at a chronological
reconstruction of Titian's career. The gap of thirty-five years down to
1511 may prove after all less by twelve or thirteen years than people
think, so that the young Titian naturally enough first emerges into view
at the age of twenty-two and not thirty-five.

But we must not anticipate results, for there is still the evidence of
the later writers of the seventeenth century to consider. Two of these
declare that Titian was born in 1477. The first of these, Tizianello, a
collateral descendant of the great painter, published his little
_Compendio_ in 1622, wherein he gives a sketchy and imperfect biography;
the other, Ridolfi, repeats the date in his _Meraviglie dell' Arte_,
published in 1648. The latter writer is notoriously unreliable in other
respects, and it is quite likely this is merely an instance of copying
from Tizianello, whose unsupported statement is chiefly of value as
showing that the "centenarian" theory had started within fifty years of
Titian's death. But again we ask: Why should the evidence of a
seventeenth-century writer be preferred to the personal testimony of
those who actually knew Titian himself, especially when Vasari gives us
precise information with which Dolce's independent account is in perfect
agreement? No doubt the great age to which Titian certainly attained was
exaggerated in the next generation after his death, but it is a
remarkable fact that the contemporary eulogies, mostly in poetic form,
which appeared on the occasion of his decease, do not allude to any such
phenomenal longevity.[161]

Nevertheless, Ridolfi's statement that Titian was born in 1477 is
commonly quoted as if there were no better and earlier evidence in
existence, and, indeed, it is a matter of surprise that conscientious
modern biographers have not looked more carefully at the original
authorities instead of being content to follow tradition, and I must
earnestly plead for a reconsideration of the question of Titian's age by
the future historians of Venetian painting.[162]

If, as I believe, Titian was born in or about 1489 instead of 1476-7,
it follows that he must have been Giorgione's junior by at least twelve
years--a most important deduction--and it also follows that he cannot
have produced any work of consequence before, say, 1505, at the age of
sixteen, and he will have died at eighty-seven and not in his hundredth
year. The alteration in date would help to explain the silence of all
records about him before 1511, when he would have been only twenty-two
and not thirty-five years old; it would fully account for his name not
being mentioned by Dürer in his famous letter of 1506, wherein he refers
to the painters of Venice, and it would equally account for the absence
of his name from the commission to paint the Fondaco frescoes in 1507-8,
for he would have been employed simply as Giorgione's young assistant.
The fact that in 1511 he signs himself simply "Io tician di Cador
Dpñtore" and not _Maestro_ would be more intelligible in a young man of
twenty-two than in an accomplished master of thirty-five, and the
character of his letter addressed to the Senate in 1513 would be more
natural to an ambitious aspirant of twenty-four than to a man in his
maturity of thirty-seven.[163]

Such are some of the obvious results of a change of date, but the larger
question as to the development of Titian's art must be left to the
future historian, for the importance of fixing a date lies in the
application thereof.[164] HERBERT COOK.


_Reply by Dr. Georg Gronau. Translated from the "Repertorium für
Kunstwissenschaft," vol. xxiv., 6th part_

In the January number of the _Nineteenth Century_ appears an article by
Herbert Cook under the title, "Did Titian live to be Ninety-Nine Years
Old?" The interrogation already suggests that the author comes to a
negative conclusion. It is, perhaps, not without interest to set forth
the reasons advanced by the English connoisseur and to submit them to
adverse criticism.

(Here follows an abstract of the article.)

The reasoning, as will have been seen, is not altogether free from
doubt. It has been usual hitherto in historical investigations to call
in question the assertions of a man about his own life only when
thoroughly weighty reasons justified such a course. Is the evidence of a
Dolce and of a Vasari so free from all objection that it outweighs
Titian's personal statement? Before answering this question it should be
pointed out that we possess two further statements of contemporary
writers on the subject of Titian's age, statements which have escaped
the notice of Mr. Cook. One is to be found in a letter from the Spanish
Consul in Venice, Thomas de Cornoga, to Philip II., dated 8th December
1567 (published in the very important work by Zarco del Valle[165]).
After informing the king of Titian's usual requests on the subject of
his pension, and so on, he continues: "y con los 85 annos de su edad
servira à V.M. hasta la muerte."

Somewhere, then, in the very year in which Titian, according to Vasari,
was "above seventy-six years of age," he seems to have been
eighty-five, according to the report of another and quite independent
witness, and if so, he would have been born about 1482.

We have then three definite statements:

Vasari (1566 or 1567) says "over 76"
The Consul (1567)      "      "85"
Titian himself (1571)  "      "95"

This new information, instead of helping us, only serves to make still
greater confusion.

The other piece of evidence not mentioned by Mr. Cook was written only a
few years after Titian's death. Borghini says in his _Riposo_, 1584:
"Mori ultimamente di vecchiezza (!not, then, of the plague?), essendo
d'età d'anni 98 o 99, l'anno 1576." ... This is the first time that the
traditional statement as to the master's age appears in literature. In
this state of things it is worth while to look closer into the evidence
of Dolce and Vasari to see if they are not after all the most
trustworthy witnesses.

It is always held to be a mistake to take rather vague statements quite
literally, as Mr. Cook has done, and to build thereon further
conclusions. When Dolce says that Titian painted with Giorgione at the
Fondaco, "non avendo egli allora appena venti anni," he is only trying
to make out that his hero, here as everywhere, was a most unusual person
(the whole dialogue is a glorification of the master). For the same
reason he makes the following remark, which we can absolutely prove to
be false:--the Assumption (he says) "fu la prima opera pubblica, che a
olio facesse." Now at least one work of Titian's was, then, already to
be seen in a public place--viz. the "St. Mark Enthroned, with Four
Saints," in Santo Spirito, afterwards removed to the sacristy of the
Salute. In other points, too, Dolce can be convicted of small errors and
misrepresentations, partly on literary grounds, partly due to his desire
to enhance the praise of Titian.

Vasari, again, should only be cited as witness when he speaks of works
of art which he has actually seen. In such a case, apart from slips, he
is always a trustworthy guide. Directly, however, he goes into
biographical details or questions of chronology accuracy becomes nearly
always a secondary matter. Titian's biography offers an excellent and
most instructive example of this. Vasari mentions first the birth and
upbringing of the boy, then he speaks of Giorgione and the Fondaco
frescoes, and goes on: "dopo la quale opera fece un quadro grande che
oggi è nella salla di messer Andrea Loredano.... Dopo in casa di messer
Giovanni D'Anna ... fece il suo ritratto ...; ed un quadro di Ecce Homo,
..." and he goes on, "L'anno poi 1507...." If it had not been that one
of these pictures, once in the possession of Giovanni D'Anna, had been
preserved (now in the Vienna Gallery), and that it bears in a
conspicuous place the date 1543, it would be recorded in all biographies
of Titian that he painted in 1507 an "Ecce Homo" for this Giovanni

If one goes further into Vasari's account we read that Titian published
his "Triumph of Faith" in 1508. "Dopo condottosi Tiziano a Vicenza,
dipinse a fresco sotto la loggetta ... il giudizio di Salamone. Appresso
tomato a Venezia, dipinse la facciata de' Grimani; e in Padoa nella
chiesa di Sant' Antonio alcune storie ... de fatti di quel santo: e in
quella di Santo Spirito fece ... un San Marco a sedere in mezzo a certi
Santi." We now know on documentary evidence that the Vicenza fresco
(which was destroyed later) dated from 1521, and similarly that the
frescoes at Padua were painted in 1511, whilst the date of the S. Mark
picture may be fixed with probability at 1504.

These examples prove how inexact Vasari is here once more. But it may be
objected, supposing that he is inaccurate in statements which refer
back, can he not be in the right in a case where he comes back, so to
speak, straight from visiting Titian and writes down his observation
about the master's actual age? To be sure; but when we find that so many
other similar notices of Vasari are wrong, even those that refer to
people whom he personally knew, we lose faith altogether. In turning
over the leaves of the sixth volume of the Sansoni edition of Vasari, in
which only his contemporaries, some of them closely connected, too, with
him, are spoken of, we find the following incorrect statements:--

P.  99. Tribolo was 65 years old (in reality only 50).
P. 209. Bugiardini died at 75 (really 79).
P. 288. Pontormo at 65 (he died actually in his 63rd year).
P. 564. Giovanni da Udine at 70 (really 77).

A still more glaring instance is to be found when Vasari not only makes
misstatements about his own life but is actually out by several years in
giving his own age. One and the same event--viz. his journey with
Cardinal Passerini to Florence--is given in his own autobiography to the
year 1524, in the "Life of Salviati," to the year 1523, and in the "Life
of Michael Angelo" to 1525. When he speaks of himself in the same
passage in the "Life of Salviati" as the "putto, che allora non aveva
più di nove anni," he is making a mistake of at least three years in his
own age. And not less delightful is it to read in the "Life of Giovanni
da Udine": "Giorgio Vasari, giovinetto di diciotto anni, quando serviva
il duca Alessandro de' Medici suo primo signore l'anno 1535." We are
obviously not dealing with Messer Giorgio's strongest point, for, as a
matter of fact, he was at that time twenty-four years of age! The same
false statement of age is found again in his own biography (vii. p. 656,
with the variation, "poco piú di diciotto anni").

But I think these instances suffice to prove how little one dare build
on such assertions of Vasari. Who dare say if Titian was really only
seventy-six in 1566 when the Aretine visited him?

And now a few remarks on the other points raised by Mr. Cook. As a
fact, it is an astonishing thing that we have no documentary evidence
about Titian before 1511; but does he not share this fate with very many
of his great countrymen, with Bellini, Giorgione, Sebastiano, and
others? An unfriendly chance has left us entirely in the dark as to the
early years of nearly all the great Venetian painters. That Dürer makes
no mention of Titian's name in his letters gives no cause for surprise,
for even the most celebrated of the younger artists, Giorgione, is not
alluded to, and of all those with Bellini, whose fame outshone even then
that of all others, only Barbari is mentioned. That Titian's name does
not occur in the documents about the Fondaco frescoes may be due to the
fact that Giorgione alone was commissioned to undertake the frescoes for
the magistrates, and that the latter painter in his turn brought his
associate Titian into the work.

Mr. Cook says that Titian still signed himself in 1511 "Dipintore"
instead of "Maestro." I am not aware whether in this respect definite
regulations or customs were usual in Venice.[166] At any rate, the
painter is still described in official documents as late as 1518 as "ser
Tizian depentor" (Lorenzi, "Monumenti," No. 366), when, even according
to Mr. Cook's theory, he must have been thirty years old; and he is
actually so called in 1528 (_ibid_. No. 403), after appearing in several
intermediate documents as "maestro" (Nos. 373, 377). If this argument,
however, proves unsound, the last point--viz. that the well-known
petition to the senate in 1513 reads more like that of a man of
twenty-four than one of thirty-seven--must be left to the hypothesis of
individual conjecture.

Must we really close these very long inquiries by confessing they are
beyond our ken? It almost seems so. For, with regard to the testimony
afforded by family documents, Dr. Jacobi (whose labours were utilised by
Crowe and Cavalcaselle) so conscientiously examined all that is left,
that a discovery in this direction is not to be looked for. Is the
statement of Tizianello that Titian's year of birth was 1477 to be
rejected without further question when we remember that, as a relative
of the painter, he could have had in 1622 access to documents possibly
since lost?

Under these circumstances the only thing left to do is to question the
works of Titian. Of these, two can be dated, not indeed with certainty,
but with some degree of probability: the dedicatory painting of the
Bishop of Pesaro with the portrait of Alexander VI. of 1502-03, and the
picture of St. Mark, already mentioned, of the year 1504. Both are, to
judge by the style, clearly early works, and both can be connected with
definite historical events of the years just mentioned. That these
paintings, however, could be the work of a fourteen- to fifteen-year-old
artist Mr. Cook will also admit to be impossible.

Much, far too much, in the story of Venetian painting must, for want of
definite information, be left to conjecture; and however unsatisfactory
it is, we must make the confession that we know as little about the date
of the birth of the greatest of the Venetians as we know of Giorgione's,
Sebastiano's, Palma's, and the rest. But supposing all of a sudden
information turned up giving us the exact date of Titian's birth, would
the picture of the development of Venetian painting be any the different
for it? In no wise. The relation to one another of the individual
artists of the younger generation is so clearly to be read in each man's
work, that no external particulars, however interesting they might be on
other grounds, could make the smallest difference. Titian's relations
with Giorgione especially could not be otherwise represented than has
been long determined, and that whether Titian was born in 1476, 1477,
1480, or even two or three years later.[167] GEORG GRONAU.


_Reply to Dr. Gronau. Reprinted from "Repertorium für
Kunstwissenschaft," vol. xxv., parts 1 and 2_

I must thank Dr. Georg Gronau for his very fair reply, published in
these pages[168] (to my article in the _Nineteenth Century_ on the
subject of Titian's age[169]). He has also most kindly pointed out two
pieces of contemporary evidence which had escaped my notice, and
although neither of these passages is conclusive proof one way or the
other, they deserve to be reckoned with in arriving at a decision.

Dr. Gronau formulates the evidence shortly thus:

Vasari in 1566 or 1567 says Titian is over 76
The Spanish Consul in 1567 "       "       85
Titian himself in 1571     " he is "       95

and he adds that this new piece of evidence--viz. the letter of the
Spanish Consul to King Philip--instead of helping us, only makes the
confusion worse.

What then are we to think when yet another--a fourth--contemporary
statement turns up, differing from any of the three just quoted? Yet
such a letter exists, and I am happy in my turn to point out this fresh
piece of evidence, in the hope that instead of making the confusion
worse, it will help us to arrive at some decision.

On October the 15th, 1564, Garcia Hernandez, Envoy in Venice from King
Philip II., writes to the King his master that Titian begged that His
Majesty would condescend to order that he should be paid what was due to
him from the court and from Milan.... For the rest the painter was in
fine condition, and quite capable of work, and this was the time, if
ever, to get "other things" from him, as according to some people who
knew him, Titian was about ninety years old, though he did not show it,
and for money everything was to be had of him.[170]

In 1564 then the Spanish Envoy writes that Titian was said to be about
ninety. Let us then enlarge Dr. Gronau's table by this additional
statement, and further complete it by including the earliest piece of
evidence, the statement of Dolce in 1557 that Titian was scarcely twenty
when he worked at the Fondaco de' Tedeschi frescoes (1507-8). The year
of Titian's birth thus works out:

Writing in 1557,     Dolce makes out Titian was born about 1489
  "      " 1566-7,   Vasari      "        "         "      1489
  "      " 1564,     Spanish Envoy        "         "      1474
  "      " 1567,     Spanish Consul       "         "      1482
  "      " 1571,     Titian himself       "         "      1476

Now it is curious to notice that the last three statements are all made
in letters to King Philip, either by Titian himself, or at his request
by the Spanish agents.

It is curious to notice these statements as to Titian's great age occur
in begging letters.[171]

It is curious to notice they are mutually contradictory.

What are we to conclude?

Surely that the Spanish Envoy, the Spanish Consul, and Titian himself,
out of their own mouths stand convicted of inconsistency of statement,
and further that they betray an identical motive underlying each
representation--viz. an appeal _ad misericordiam._

Before, however, contrasting the value of the evidence as found in these
Spanish letters with the evidence as found in Dolce and Vasari, let us
note two points in these letters.

Garcia Hernandez, the Spanish Envoy, writes: "According to some people
who knew him, Titian was about ninety years old, though he did not show
it." Now, if Titian was really about ninety in the year 1564, he will
have lived to the age of one hundred and two, a feat of longevity of
which no one has ever accused him! Apart, therefore, from the healthy
scepticism which Hernandez betrays in this letter, we may certainly
conclude that "some people who knew him" were exaggerating Titian's age.

Secondly, Titian's letter of 1571 says he is ninety-five years old.
Titian's similar letter of 1576, the year of his death, omits to say he
is one hundred. Surely a strange omission, considering that he refers to
his old age three times in this one letter.[172] Does not the second
letter correct the inexactness of the first? and so Titian's statement
goes for nothing?

The collective evidence, then, of these Spanish letters amounts to this,
that, in the words of the Envoy, "for money everything was to be had of
Titian," and accordingly any statement as to his great age when thus
made for effect must be treated with the greatest suspicion.

But is the evidence of Dolce and Vasari any more trustworthy? Dr. Gronau
is at pains to show that both these writers often made mistakes in
their dates, a fact which no one can dispute. Their very incorrectness
is the more reason however for trusting them in this instance, for they
happen to agree about the date of Titian's birth; and, although neither
of them expressly gives the year 1489, they indicate separate and
independent events in his life, the one, Dolce, at the beginning, the
other, Vasari, at the end, which when looked into give the same result.

Moreover, be Dolce ever so anxious to cry up his hero Titian, and make
him out to have been precocious, and be Vasari ever so inexact in his
chronology, we must remember that, when both of them wrote, the
presumption of unusual longevity had not arisen, and that their evidence
therefore is less likely to be prejudiced in this respect than the
evidence given in obituary notices, such as occurs in Borghini's
_Riposo_ of 1584, and in the later writers like Tizianello and Ridolfi.

That Borghini therefore says Titian was ninety-eight or ninety-nine when
he died, and that Tizianello and Ridolfi, thirty-eight and sixty-four
years later respectively, put him down at ninety-nine, is by no means
proof that such was the case. It would seem that there had been some
speculation before and after Titian's death as to his exact age; that no
one quite knew for certain; and that Titian with the credulousness of
old age had come to regard himself as well-nigh a centenarian. Be this
as it may, I still hold that the evidence of Dolce and Vasari that
Titian's birth occurred in 1489 is more trustworthy than either the
evidence found in the three Spanish letters, or the evidence as given in
the obituary notices of Borghini and others.

One word more. If Titian was born in 1489, instead of 1476-7, it does
make a great difference in the story of his own career; and, what is
more, the history of Venetian art in the early sixteenth century, as it
centres round Giorgione, Palma, and Titian, will have to be carefully



[148] The picture now hangs in the Academia at Venice.

[149] e.g. the "Sacred and Profane Love" (so-called) in the Borghese
Gallery; the "S. Mark" of the Salute; the "Concert" in the Pitti; the
"Tribute Money" at Dresden; the "Madonna of the Cherries" at Vienna,
etc., which one or other of his biographers assign to the years

[150] _The Life and Times of Titian_, 2 vols., 1881.

[151] _The Earlier and Later Work of Titian. Portfolio_, October 1897
and July 1898.

[152] _Tizian_. Berlin, 1901.

[153] _La Vie et l'Oeuvre de Titien_: Paris, 1886.

[154] See Crowe and Cavalcaselle: _Titian_, i. 85. The fact that
Titian's name does not occur in these records is curious and suggestive.

[155] Ed. _Sansoni_, p. 459. The translation is that of Blashfield and
Hopkins. Bell, 1897.

[156] _Ibid_. p. 425.

[157] _Ibid_. p. 428.

[158] The translation is that of Crowe and Cavalcaselle. _Titian_, ii.
391. The original is given by them at p. 538.

[159] Quoted from Crowe and Cavalcaselle.

[160] Crowe and Cavalcaselle. _Titian_, ii. 409.

[161] There is a collection of these in a volume in the British Museum.

[162] Before the discovery of the letter to Philip, Messrs. Crowe and
Cavalcaselle were quite prepared to admit that Titian was born "after
1480" (vide _N. Italian Painting_, ii. 119, 120). Unfortunately, they
took the evidence of the letter as final, but finding themselves
chronologically in difficulties, they shrewdly remark in their _Titian_,
i. 38, note: "The writers of these lines thought, and _still think_,
Titian younger than either Giorgione or Palma. They were, however,
inclined to transpose Titian's birthday to a later date than 1477,
rather than put back those of Palma and Giorgione to an earlier period,
and in this they made a mistake." Perhaps they were not so far wrong
after all!

[163] For this most amusing letter see Crowe and Cavalcaselle. _Titian_,
i. p. 153.

[164] The evidence afforded by Titian's own portraits of himself (at
Berlin and in the Uffizi) is inconclusive, as we do not know the exact
years they were painted. The portrait at Madrid, painted 1562, might
represent a man of seventy-three or eighty-six, it is hard to say which.
But there is a woodcut of 1550 (_vide_ Gronau, p. 164) which surely
shows Titian at the age of sixty-one rather than seventy-four; and,
finally, Paul Veronese's great "Marriage at Cana" (in the Louvre), which
was painted between June 1562 and September 1563, distinctly points to
Titian being then a man of seventy-four and not eighty-seven. He is
represented, as is well known, seated in the group of musicians in the
centre, and playing the contrabasso.

[165] _Jahrbuch der Sammlungen des A.H. Kaiserhauses_, vii. p. 221 _ff_

[166] Dr. Ludwig had the kindness to write to me on this subject: "Among
the thousands of signatures of painters which I have seen I have never
come across the signature _Maestro_. Of course, someone else can
describe a painter as Master; he himself always subscribes himself
_pittor, pictor_, or _depentor_."

[167] Dr. Gronau further points out (in a letter recently sent to the
writer) that Titian, writing to the emperor in 1545, says: "I should
have liked to take them (i.e. the paintings) to your Majesty in person,
but that my age and the length of the journey forbade such a course" (C.
and C. ii. 103). Writing also in 1548 to Granvella he refers to his
"vechia vita." Would not such expressions (asks Dr. Gronau) be more
applicable to a man of sixty-eight and seventy-one respectively than to
one of only fifty-six and fifty-nine?

[168] XXIV. Band. 6 Heft, p. 457.

[169] January 1902, pp. 123-130.

[170] Quoted from Crowe and Cavalcaselle. II. 344. The Spanish original
is given at p. 535.

[171] I have quoted Titian's letter in full in the _Nineteenth Century_.
That of the Spanish Consul is given in the _Jahrbuch der Sammlungen des
A.H. Kaiserhauses_, vii. p. 221, from which I extract the passage: "El
dicho Ticiano besa pies y manos de V.M., y suplica umilmente a V.M.
mande le sea pagado lo que le ha corrido de las pensiones de que V.M. le
tiene echo merced en Milan y en esa corte, y la trata de Napoles, y con
los 85 años de su edad servira a V.M. hasta la muerte."

[172] I have quoted this letter also in full in the _Nineteenth
Century._ I am indebted to M. Salomon Reinach for making this point
(_Chronique des Arts_, Feb. 15, 1902, p. 53, where he expresses himself
a convert to my views).






_Esterhazy Collection_. (See p. 31.)


Copy of a portion of Giorgione's lost picture of the "Birth of Paris."
These are the two shepherds. (See p. 46.)

The whole composition was engraved by Th. von Kessel for the _Theatrum
pictorium_ under Giorgione's name. The original picture was seen and
described by the Anonimo in 1525.


Canvas, 4 ft. x 4 ft. 8 in. [No. 16.]

Seen by the Anonimo in 1525, in Venice, and said by him to have been
finished by Sebastiano del Piombo. (See p. 12.)

_Collection of the Archduke Leopold William, and registered in the
inventory of_ 1659.

ADORATION OF THE SHEPHERDS, or NATIVITY. Wood, 3 ft. x 3 ft. 10 in. [No.

Inferior replica by Giorgione of the Beaumont picture in London.

I have sought to identify this piece with the picture "da una Nocte,"
painted by Giorgione for Taddeo Contarini. (See p. 24 and Appendix,
where the original document is quoted.)

_From the Collection of the Archduke Leopold William, and registered in
the inventory of 1659 as a Giorgione._

VIRGIN AND CHILD. Wood, 2 ft. 2 in. x 2 ft. 9 in. [No. 176.]

Known as the "Gipsy Madonna," and ascribed to Titian. _Collection of the
Archduke Leopold William._ (See p. 97.)

PORTRAIT OF A MAN. Canvas, 3 ft. 5 in. x 2 ft. 9 in. [No. 167.]

Commonly, though erroneously, called "The Physician Parma," and ascribed
to Titian.

_Collection of the Archduke Leopold William._ (See p. 87.)

DAVID WITH THE HEAD OF GOLIATH. Wood, 2 ft. 2 in. x 2 ft. 6 in. [No.

Copy after a lost original, which is thus described by Vasari: "A David
(which, according to common report, is a portrait of the master himself)
with long locks, reaching to the shoulders, as was the custom of that
time, and the colouring is so fresh and animating that the face appears
to be rather real than painted; the breast is covered with armour, as is
the arm with which he holds the head of Goliath."

_This picture was at that day in the house of the Patriarch of Aquileia;
the copy can be traced back to the Collection of the Archduke Leopold
William at Brussels._ (See p. 48.)

Herr Wickhoff, however, seems to think that, were the repaints removed,
the Vienna picture might prove to be Giorgione's original painting. See
Berenson's _Study and Criticism of Italian Art_, vol. i. p. 74, note.



ADORATION OF THE MAGI, or THE EPIPHANY. Panel. 12 in. x 2 ft. 8 in. [No.

_From the Leigh Court sale, 1884._ (See p. 53.)

UNKNOWN SUBJECT, possibly THE GOLDEN AGE. Panel. 1 ft. 11 in. x 1 ft. 7
in. [No. 1173.]

Now catalogued as "School of Barbarelli." (See p. 91.) _Purchased in
1885 at the sale of the Bohn Collection as a Giorgione.

Formerly in the Aldobrandini Palace, Rome, where it was bought by Mr.
Day for the Marquis of Bristol, but afterwards sold at Christie's to Mr.
White, and by him for £73.10s. to Bohn._

PORTRAIT OF A MAN, possibly PROSPERO COLONNA. Transposed in 1857 from
wood to canvas, 2 ft. 8 in. x 2 ft. [No. 636.]

Catalogued as "Portrait of a Poet," by Palma Vecchio.

_Formerly in possession of Mr. Tomline, and purchased in 1860 from M.
Edmond Beaucousin at Paris._

It was then called the portrait of Ariosto by Titian. (See p. 81.)

A KNIGHT IN ARMOUR, probably S. LIBERALE. Wood, 1 ft. 3 in. x 10 in.
[No. 269.]

_Formerly in the Collection of Benjamin West, P.R.A., and bequeathed to
the National Gallery by Mr. Samuel Rogers in 1855._ (See p. 20.)

VENUS AND ADONIS. Canvas, 2 ft. 6 in. x 4 ft. 4 in. [No. 1123.]

Catalogued as "Venetian School," and more recently as "School of

_Purchased in 1882 as a Giorgione at the Hamilton Palace sale._ (See p.


THE ADULTERESS BEFORE CHRIST. Canvas, 4 ft. 6 in. x 5 ft. 11 in. [No.

_Ex M'Lellan Collection._ (See p. 102.)

TWO MUSICIANS. Panel. 1 ft. 9 in. x 1 ft. 4 in. [No. 143.]

Recently attributed to Campagnola. Said to be Titian and Giorgione,
playing violin and violoncello. The former attribution to Giorgione is
probably correct.

_Graham-Gilbert Collection._

New Gallery, Venetian Exhibition, 1895. [No. 99.]


SHEPHERD BOY. Canvas, 1 ft. 11 in. x 1 ft. 8 in. [No. 101.]

_From Charles I. Collection_, where it was called a Giorgione. (See p.
49 for a suggestion as to its possible authorship.)


THREE FIGURES. Half-length; two men, and a woman fainting. Canvas, 2 ft.
5 in. x 2 ft. 1 in.

Ascribed to Titian, but probably derived from a Giorgione original.
Other versions are said (C. and C. ii. 149) to have been at the Hague
and in the Buonarroti Collection at Florence. The London picture is so
damaged and repainted, although still of splendid colouring, as to
preclude all certainty of judgment.

_Formerly in Charles I. Collection._


ADORATION OF THE SHEPHERDS, or NATIVITY. Wood, 3 ft. 6 in. x 2 ft.

_From the Gallery of Cardinal Fesch_, and presumably the same as the
picture in the Collection of James II. I have sought to identify this
piece with the picture "da una Nocte," painted by Giorgione for Vittorio
Beccare (See p. 20, and Appendix quoting the original document.)


HOLY FAMILY. Wood, 14 in. x 17 in.

New Gallery, 1895. [No. 148.] (See p. 96.)

MADONNA AND CHILD. Wood, 1 ft. 6 in. x 1 ft. 10 in.

New Gallery, 1895. [No. 1, under Titian's name.] (See p. 101.)

_From the Burghley House Collection._

PORTRAIT OF A MAN. Canvas, 38 in. x 32 in.

Copy of a lost original. Three-quarter length; life-size; standing
towards right; head facing; hands resting on a column, glove in left;
black dress, cut square at throat.

New Gallery, 1895. [No. 52, as "Unknown."] (See p. 74.)


PORTRAIT OF A MAN. Canvas, 2 ft. 1 in. x 2 ft. 9 in.

Erroneously called Ariosto, and ascribed to Titian.

I have sought to identify this with the "Portrait of a Gentleman" of the
Barberigo family, said by Vasari to have been painted by Titian at the
age of eighteen. (See p. 69.)


THE JUDGMENT OF PARIS. Canvas, 22 in. x 28 in.

Copy of an unidentified original, of which other versions are to be
found at Dresden, Venice (Pal. Albuzio), and Christiania. This one is
probably a Bolognese repetition of the seventeenth century.

Ridolfi mentions this subject in his list of Giorgione's works.

New Gallery, 1895. [No. 29.]


VENUS DISARMING CUPID. 3 ft. 7 in. x 3 ft. [No. 19.]

The picture was engraved as a Giorgione when in the Orleans Gallery.
(See p. 93.)


TWO FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE. Panel. 18 in. x 17 in.

The damaged state precludes any certainty of judgment. The composition
is that of the Adrastus and Hypsipyle picture; the colouring recalls
the National Gallery "Golden Age(?)." If an original, it is quite an
early work. New Gallery, 1895. [No. 147.]

TWO FIGURES (half-lengths), A WOMAN AND A MAN.

Copy after a missing original, and in the style of the figures at
Oldenburg. (See Venturi, _La Gall. Crespi_.) This or the original was
engraved as a Giorgione in 1773 by Dom. Cunego ex tabula Romae in
aedibus Burghesianis asservata.


THE JUDGMENT OF SOLOMON. Canvas, 6 ft. 10 in. x 10 ft. 5 in.

Mentioned by Dr. Waagen, Suppl. Ridolfi (1646) mentions: "In casa
Grimani da Santo Ermagora la Sentenza di Salomone, di bella macchia,
colla figura del ministro non finita." Afterwards in the Marescalchi
Gallery at Bologna, where (1820) it was seen by Lord Byron, who
especially praised it (vide _Life and Letters_, ed. by Moore, p. 705),
and at whose suggestion it was purchased by his friend Mr. Bankes. (See
p. 25.)

Exhibited Royal Academy, 1869.


With four putti climbing over a circular balcony, seen in steep
perspective, and covered with beautiful vine leaves and flowers. This is
said to have been painted by Giorgione in the last year of his life
(1510) for the Palace of Grimani, Patriarch of Aquileia. Admirably
preserved, and most likely a genuine work.



Traditionally ascribed to Titian. Just under life-size; he holds a black
hat. Blue-black silk dress with sleeve of pinky red and golden brown
gloves. Dark auburn hair. Dark grey marble wall behind. In excellent
preservation. (See p. 86.)



A free Venetian repetition, perhaps based on an alternative design for
the Glasgow picture. (See p. 104.)



FÊTE CHAMPÊTRE, or PASTORAL SYMPHONY. Canvas, 3 ft. 8 in. x 4 ft. 9 in.

_Said to have been in Charles I. Collection, and sold to Louis XIV. by
Jabuch._ (See p. 39.)

4 in. x 4 ft. 6 in.

Perhaps left incomplete by Giorgione at his death, and finished by
Sebastiano del Piombo. (See p. 105.)

_From Charles I. Collection._




_Acquired from Dr. Richten_ (See p. 30.)



A small seated figure with the unicorn. Recently acquired at Cologne,
and known to the writer only by photograph and description, but
tentatively accepted as genuine.


VENUS. Canvas, 3 ft. 7 in. x 5 ft. 10 in. [No. 185.]

Formerly catalogued as a copy by Sassoferrato after Titian. Restored by
Morelli to Giorgione, and universally accepted as such. Mentioned by the
Anonimo and Ridolfi, and said to have been completed by Titian. (See p.

THE HOROSCOPE. Canvas, 4 ft. 5 in. x 6 ft. 2 in.

Copy after a lost original. C. and C. suggest Girolamo Pennacchi as
possible author. It bears the Este arms.

_From the Manfrini and Barker Collections._

(See _Gazette des Beaux Arts_, 1884, tom. xxx. p. 223.)

JUDGMENT OF PARIS. Canvas, 1 ft. 9 in. x 2 ft. 3 in.

One of several copies of a lost original. [See under British
Isles--Heron Court.]



ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE. Wood, 1 ft. 3 in, x 1 ft. 9 in. [No. 179, Lochis

(See p. 89.)

MADONNA AND CHILD. Wood, 1 ft. 3 in. x 1 ft. 6 in. [No. 232, Lochis
section, as "Titian."]

The composition is very similar to Mr. Benson's "Madonna and Child"
(_q.v._). (See p. 101.)

THE ADULTERESS BEFORE CHRIST. 4 ft. 11 in. x 7 ft. 3 in. [No. 26,
Carrara section.]

Later copy, with slight variations, of the Glasgow picture, Ascribed to
Cariani, and in a dirty state. (See p. 104.)


6 in. x 4 ft. 10 in.

(See p. 7.)


THE CONCERT. Canvas, 3 ft. 10 in. x 7 ft. 4 in. [No. 185.]

Described by Ridolfi and Boschini.

An old copy is at Hyde Park House, another in the Palazzo Doria, Rome.
(See p. 49.)

THE THREE AGES. Wood, 3 ft. 8 in. x 5 ft. 4 in. [No. 157.]

By C. and C. ascribed to Lotto, by Morelli to Giorgione.

(See p. 42.)

NYMPH AND SATYR. Canvas. [No. 147.]

(See p. 44.)


TRIAL OF MOSES, or ORDEAL BY FIRE. Canvas. Figures one-eighth life-size.
[No. 621.]

_From Poggio Imperiale._(See p. 15.)

JUDGMENT OF SOLOMON. Companion piece to last. Wood. [No. 630.]

(See p. 15.)

KNIGHT OF MALTA. Canvas. Bust, life-size. [No. 622.]

The letters XXXV probably refer to the man's age. Mr. Dickes (_Magazine
of Art_, April 1893) thinks he is Stefano Colonna, who died 1548. (See
p. 19.)


PORTRAIT OF CATERINA CORNARO. Canvas, 3 ft. 11 in. x 3 ft. 2 in.

_From the Alessandro Martinengo Gallery, Brescia (1640), thence to
Collection Francesco Riccardi, Bergamo, where C. and C. saw it in 1877._
They state it was engraved in the line series of Sala. It has been known
traditionally both as Caterina Cornaro and "La Schiavona." (See p. 74.)

In the signature T.V. it is clear that the V represents the last letter
but one in TITIANVS. The first three letters can just be made out. There
are many _pentimenti_ on the marble parapet, which seems to have been
painted over the dress.


Two _cassone_ panels with mythological scenes. Wood, about 4 ft. x 1 ft.
each. [Nos. 416, 417.]

(See p. 56.)

Two very small panels with mythological scenes, one representing LEDA
AND THE SWAN. Wood, about 5 in. x 3 in. each. [Nos. 42, 43.]

(See p. 90.)


PORTRAIT OF A LADY. Canvas, 3 ft. 2 in. x 2 ft. 6 in.

(See p. 33.)



_Recently acquired._

(Tentatively accepted from the photograph. See p. 91.)



Repetition by Titian of Giorgione's original at Vienna

(See p. 98.)


Copy of a missing original.


STORM AT SEA CALMED BY S. MARK. Wood, 11 ft. 8 in. x 13 ft. 6 in. [No.

_From the Scuola di S. Marco_, where it was companion piece to Paris
Bordone's "Fisherman and Doge." Ascribed by Vasari to Palma Vecchio, by
Zanetti to Giorgione.

Too damaged to admit of definite judgment. (See p. 55.)

THREE FIGURES. Half-lengths; a woman fainting, supported by a man;
another behind.

Modern copy by Fabris of apparently a missing original. Can this be the
picture mentioned by C. and C. as in the possession of the King of
Holland? (C. and C. ii. 149, note.) _Cf_. also, Notes to Sansoni's
_Vasari_, iv. p. 104. Another version is at Buckingham Palace (_q.v_.),
but it differs in detail from this copy.


APOLLO AND DAPHNE. _Cassone_ panel. Wood. Small figures, much defaced.
(See p. 34.)

life. About 3 ft. x 2 ft.

Christ clad in pale grey, head turned three-quarters looking out of the
picture, auburn hair and beard, bears cross. He is dragged forward by an
elderly man nude to waist. Another man in profile to left. An old man
with white beard just visible behind Christ. (See p. 54.)


Another version of this subject, of which copies exist at Christiania,
Lord Malmesbury's, and Dresden.

PAL. GIOVANELLI. ADRASTUS AND HYPSIPYLE. Canvas, 2 ft. 9 in. x 2 ft. 5

Described by the Anonimo in the house of Gabriel Vendramin (1530). (See
p. 11.)

Statius (lib. iv. 730 _ff_.) describes how King Adrastus, wandering
through the woods in search of a spring to quench the thirst of his
troops, encounters by chance Queen Hypsipyle, who had been driven out of
Lemnos by the wicked women, who had resolved to slay their husbands, and
she had taken refuge in the service of the King of Nemea, in capacity
of nurse.

Ex _Manfrini Palace._

PAL. QUERINI-STAMPALIA. PORTRAIT OF A MAN. Unfinished. Wood, 2 ft. 6 in.
square. (See p. 85.)




Another version of this subject, of which copies exist at Lord
Malmesbury's, Dresden, and Venice.



JUDITH. 4 ft. 9 in. x 2 ft. 2 in. [No. 112.]

Once ascribed to Raphael, and engraved as such (in 1620), by H.H.
Quitter, and afterwards by several other artists. Dr. Waagen pronounced
it to be Moretto's work, and accordingly the name was changed; as such
Braun has photographed it. It is now officially recognised rightly as a
Giorgione (_vide_ Catalogue of 1891).

_Brought from Italy to France, and eventually in Crozat's possession_.
(See p. 37.)

VIRGIN AND CHILD. 2 ft. 10 in. x 2 ft. 6. [No. 93.]

_Acquired at Paris in 1819 by Prince Troubetzkoy as a Titian_, under
which name it is still registered. (See p. 102, where Mr. Claude
Phillips's suggestion that it may be a Giorgione is discussed.)



in. [No. 341.]

_From the Escurial_; restored to Giorgione by Morelli, and now
officially recognised as his work. (See p. 45.)



CHRIST BEARING THE CROSS. Wood, 1 ft. 8 in. x 1 ft. 4 in.

Several variations and repetitions exist. (See p. 18.)

_Till lately in the Casa Loschi at Vicenza._

       *       *       *       *       *

A few drawings by Giorgione meet with general recognition, but, like his
paintings, they appear to have been unnecessarily restricted by an
over-anxiety on the part of critics to leave him only the best. E.g. the
drawing at Windsor for a part of an "Adoration of the Shepherds," is, no
doubt, a preliminary design for the Beaumont or Vienna pictures. The
limits of the present book will not allow a discussion on the subject,
but we may remark that, like all Venetian artists, Giorgione made few
preliminary sketches, concerning himself less with design and
composition than with harmony of colour, light and shade, and "effect."
The engraving by Marcantonio commonly called "The Dream of Raphael," is
now known to be derived from Giorgione, to whom the subject was
suggested by a passage in Servius' _Commentary on Virgil_ (lib. iii. v.
12). (See Wickhoff, loc. cit.)



(i) The Three Philosophers (since identified as Aeneas, Evander, and
Pallas, in the Vienna Gallery),

(ii) Aeneas and Anchises in Hades.

(in) The Birth of Paris. (Since identified by the engraving of Th. von
Kessel. A copy of the part representing the two shepherds is at


(i) Portrait of M. Jeronimo armed, showing his back and turning his

(ii) A nude Venus in a landscape with Cupid. Finished by Titian. (Since
identified as the Dresden Venus.)

(in) S. Jerome reading.


A soldier armed to the waist.


(i) Landscape with soldier and gipsy. (Since identified as the Adrastus
and Hypsipyle of the Pal. Giovanelli, Venice.)

(ii) The dead Christ on the Tomb, supported by one Angel. Retouched by
Titian. (This can hardly be the celebrated Pietà in the Monte di Pietà
at Treviso, as there are here three angels. M. Lafenestre, in his _Life
of Titian_, reproduces an engraving answering to the above description,
but it is hard to believe this mannered composition is to be traced back
to Giorgione.)


(i) A youth, half-length, holding an arrow.

(ii) Head of a shepherd boy, who holds a fruit.


(i) Copy of No. (i) just mentioned.

(ii) Head of S. James, with pilgrim staff (or, may be, a copy).


S. Jerome, nude, seated in a desert by moonlight. Copy after Giorgione.


A pen drawing of a nude figure in a landscape. The painting of the same
subject belonged to the Anonimo.


Portrait of his father.

It is noteworthy that two of the above pieces are cited as copies, from
which we may infer that Giorgione's productions were already, at this
early date, enjoying such a vogue as to call for their multiplication at
the hands of others, and we can readily understand how, in course of
time, the fabrication of "Giorgiones" became a profitable business.


[173] _Notizie d'opere di disegno_. Ed. Frizzoni. Bologna, 1884.

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ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.